Dec 17, 2018

La Ensenada, Tela, Honduras

What is a “Banana Republic?” It is a derogatory term that describes
a politically unstable country dependent on the exportation of a major product such as bananas. In most cases the company doing the exporting plays a critical role in the politics of the country – for example the United Fruit Company in Honduras exporting bananas. Bananas only became popular in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century. In return for land, United Fruit (today Chiquita Brands) developed the infrastructure such as roads and ports that made exporting their bananas and other fruits easier and less expensive. 

Tela, Honduras, about an hour’s drive east of San Pedro Sula was once the home of United Fruit and its subsidiaries. What was once the residential compound for staff is now Telamar Resort with traditional wooden buildings. We have stayed there but as a special treat for successfully driving and taking care of business in Honduras we booked three nights at La Ensenada an all-inclusive nearby. 

Most of the all-inclusive resorts in Honduras are on Roatan Island
but the ones on the mainland of Honduras are less expensive. The north shore of Honduras is basically two-hundred miles of beaches just waiting to be developed.  We have stayed a La Ensenada before and loved it. The free-form pool is large and perfect for whatever one wants to do.  The beach is nice with shade trees and sport activities. On Friday and Saturday they have stage shows. Our accommodation was first rate and looked like it had just been redecorated. We had an upstairs room with a long, wide porch. 

All meals are buffet, normally. But on Sunday there were so few guests that meals were ala carte. Everyone at the resort and in all of Honduras is very helpful and accommodating.  I asked the chef to show me how to make a traditional recipe and he said, “No problem.”  The area has acres of pineapple plants mainly for the Dole Food Company and the beaches are lined with coconut trees so Chef Luis Felipe said Coconut Pineapple Seafood would be a good choice as it is representative of the area. He set everything up on a deck by the beach. I didn’t want him to go to all that trouble but it was appreciated. I think any variety of seafood could be used. 

Coconut Pineapple Seafood (Mariscada Teleña)
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ red onion, minced
½ green pepper, diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme 
2 oz shrimp
2 oz squid 
2 oz mussels on half shell
2 oz fish, tilipia

2 oz conch
Salt and pepper as desired
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup fish broth
2 oz (more if desired) pineapple cut in 1 inch cubes
1 tbsp cornstarch as needed
2 sprigs fresh cilantro for garnish
fried plantain  

Preheat the pan, add olive oil, when warm fry the garlic, onions and
peppers.Once it is fragrant add the thyme and shrimp, stir it for a couple of minutes until shrimp is pink. Add the squid and mussels; stir it for another couple of minutes. Add the fish; cook another couple minutes. Add conch last so it will be soft; cook for another couple minutes. Add salt and pepper, coconut milk and fish broth, cook it for several minutes. Add pineapple and cornstarch to thicken it. Plate, garnish with fresh cilantro.
Serve with fry plantains chips.