I’ve recently become addicted to plantains.
I had tried them once, years ago. I was at a very cool Cuban restaurant with some girlfriends before a bachelorette party (woohoo!) and I had short ribs on plantains! Holy mackeral. Sweet Jesus. It was ahhmazing!
Oh, and then I had them again on a nice date my fiancé took me on, and I ordered the duo of steak tartar and tuna tartar with plantain chips. Holy crud, I have amazing taste in food.
Since then, plantains have been daunting to me. Don’t ask me why, but it probably all connects to not knowing how to tell if they’re ripe. And after a bad run-in with an iffy papaya, well lets just say I spend a lot of time researching how to tell if things are ripe before I even buy something new.
Well, after years of letting it roll around in my noggin and only ordering it in restaurants (and being furious with Guy Ferrierrierrieiirrri for acting so baffled by Mofongo even though I know I’ve watched him eat it at, like three Puerto Rican restaurants!), I decided I had to get me some plantains.
And I know now that I need to look for yellow peel (yes, they come in other colors, like reddish brown, but I’m starting with yellow) and it will ripen to have dark spots all over, like a banana. It can take weeks to ripen, so buying one with more spots means I can use it sooner. If you let it ripen to black or deep in color, it will be soft but also have a fermented taste, so I wanted to avoid that.
You also need to know that you open it by cutting off both ends, then slicing down the peel. Then you open the peel, remove the plantain, and you’re ready to go!
I chose to cook up the whole plantain (in coconut oil!) and use some of it as a sweeter treat, with coconut and cinnamon to go with pancakes, oatmeal, or just on their own. The rest I used in savory dishes! I layered the cooked plantain with shrimp or chicken sautéed with savory spices to make a taco bowl (topped with avocado, tomatoes, onions, salsa and lime!).
Whether savory or sweet, I’m in love with plantains, and you will be too!
Plantains (Cinnamon Coconut)
1 ripe plantain
2 tsp. coconut oil
optional: cinnamon and toasted coconut for sprinkling
~Prepare your plantain: cut off the ends, slice down the peel, remove the plantain. Slice the plantain into even slices.
~Heat your coconut oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Place the plantain slices in an even layer in the pan. Cook until golden (this happens relatively quickly so keep an eye on them) then flip and cook the other side until it’s golden too.
~Remove the plantain from the pan and sprinkle with cinnamon and toasted coconut (if you’re using them).
~Store left-over cooked plantain in an airtight container in the fridge.
PS Thanks for all of your entries into my QuestBar Giveaway!