As you all know, I am a huge fan of all things Latin. Language, culture, dance and of course, food. Recently, I was lucky enough to be taught how to make fried sweet plantains, one of my favorite Latin dishes, by a family friend who happens to be Colombian.
Plantains are produced worldwide, generally in tropical climates, but also in parts of Africa and the Northern US. They are similar to bananas in shape and color, though the fruit of the plantain is much firmer and not as sweet. Unlike the banana, which you can eat raw, plantains are generally cooked before eaten. Two types of plantains work in this instance: the green plantain, which is an unripe, starchy and therefore savory plantain used to make chips and tostones and the overripe, yellowish-black plantains, which is what I used to make the fried sweet plantains. (I am partial to the yellow plantains, as I have a massive sweet tooth.)
Fried sweet plantains, known in Spanish as maduros, are made using only two ingredients: oil and yellow plantains. They take all of ten minutes to make, taste like candy, and are best when served warm. I will eat them as a side dish with rice, beans and/or meat, but since they are fried until golden brown, they can also be eaten as a dessert. I’ve heard tons of different ideas on what can be done with the fried sweet plantain: served with hot fudge on ice cream, stuffed in french toast, sprinked with sugar and coconut (as if they needed to be sweeter!), but for now I will leave you with the basic recipe…and then you can decide how creative you want to be! Enjoy!
Fried Sweet Plantains
Serves 2 people
1 yellowish-black overripe plantain (ask around in your grocery store if you need help)
Vegetable Oil, for frying
Prepare a large plate by covering with paper towels. This will help to reduce the oil left on the cooked plantain.
Placing the plantain on a cutting board, use a knife to cut off the top. Very carefully skin the plantain with your knife, noting that this will take a bit more time than it would if you were peeling a banana.
Slice the plantains lengthwise, about 3/4″ thick each. Set aside.
In a medium sized frypan, with high sides to prevent splattering, heat about 1/2 to 1 cup of vegetable oil. When the pan is hot enough, CAREFULLY place each plantain slice into the pan, taking care not to touch thehot oil. Use a fork to submerge the plantain fully in the oil.
Brown each side of the plantain (about 4 minutes total) or until the plantains are soft. Remove the plantains from the pan, taking care to let any excess oil stay in the pan and not spill over, and place on the prepared plate. Gently pat the plantains dry and serve warm.
(Hooray, this is post #100!)