This January marks the 80th year of the King of Rock & Roll’s birth. I, and no doubt many others, certainly wish Elvis lived to see January 8, 2015. He probably does, too.
Whether you prefer the pre-Army Elvis (as I do), Movie Elvis, or Vegas Elvis, no one can deny the man’s staying power in pop culture and his profound influence on modern music.
Elvis, believe it or not, has also had an influence, at least in some small part, on American cuisine. People outside of the South became more aware of the cuisine of the region, and just about every diner and restaurant – greasy spoon, fancy, or even sushi – in the U.S. has some version of something Elvis themed – usually involving bacon, peanut butter, and/or bananas.
And, so, here we are. The ubiquitous Elvis recipe – Fried Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich. This was, by all accounts, his favorite snack. I recently read an interview with his long-time cook, Mary Jenkins, who said she couldn’t count the number of sandwiches she cooked for him. (Here is a brief glimpse of her in a 1996 BBC Documentary on YouTube. Mary passed away in 2000 at the age of 78.)
A few notes on this recipe:
1. White marshmallow fluff bread is a must (i.e. Mrs. Baird’s, Buttercrust, Wonder). Period.
2. A well-speckled banana is best. You don’t want it too green or too black.
3. While it appears that Mary used smooth peanut butter in the video, you can use either smooth or crunchy. It’s your preference.
4. She also sliced the bananas. This doesn’t quite match most of the recipes I’ve read, but, if you prefer to slice the banana instead of mashing it, go ahead. Slicing the bananas will make a far less messy sandwich.
5. Butter. period. That being said, looking at the video, Mary is continuously adding butter to the pan. I simply spread it on the bread. However, if you want to make your sandwich as rich as Elvis liked it, go for it.
Just as a reminder. There has never been bacon on this sandwich. Somewhere along the way, someone added it. Not to say it isn’t delicious (because it is), but bacon is not part of the original recipe.
Second reminder: This isn’t a sandwich that needs to be or should be healthy. Butter, white bread, and hydrogenated peanut butter (i.e. Peter Pan, Jif) are musts.
2 slices white bread
2-3 tbsp. peanut butter
1 ripe banana, mashed or sliced
1. Lightly toast the bread and spread butter on one side of each piece.
2. On the unbuttered side of the bread, spread peanut butter on one slice. Top with the either sliced or mashed bananas. Place the other slice on top.
3. In a skillet heated over medium heat, place the sandwich and fry on both sides until dark golden brown.
4. Remove the sandwich from the skillet, place it on a plate, cut on the diagonal (that’s the way Mary did it), and serve.