Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fried Plantains

Update!  Original post below, but here are some more pictures of our plantains when they were actually ripe enough.  It makes a huge difference!  They were slightly crispy on the outside, but sweet and moist on the inside.  They really melt in your mouth.  The ripe plantain was much easier to peel too, as you can see in the picture.

Original Post: When we bought plantains at our local Hispanic market we had no idea how long they would take to ripen!  We patiently waited about 3 weeks until I decided they were dark enough.  
In hind sight, we didn't let them go nearly long enough to result in the soft, sweet, fried plantains we were imagining.  But we still had fun making them for the first time, and I've looked up some tips to make the recipe better when we make them again.  These were still crispy and flavorful - but not as soft and sweet on the inside as we thought they would be.   Apparently, for ripe plantains you really have to let them become pitch black, and even slightly soft to the touch.  One suggestion I found is to beat them with a wooden spoon before peeling because it is supposed to soften them even more.  I also read that placing them in a paper bag with an apple speeds up the ripening process so I'm going to try that next time.  We'll see... in the meantime, here is our recipe!

2-3 ripe plantains
1/4 cup oil
salt and sugar to sprinkle on top

When peeling, don't treat plantains like you would bananas.  They are much tougher to peel.  Cut the tip of the plantain, and then cut slits down the peel, length-wise.  Use a butter knife to help you peel back each piece of the peel slowly so you don't rip off the fruit with it.  

Next, cut the plantains about 1/4-1/3 inch thick, on the diagonal.  
Heat the oil over medium in a cast iron skillet.  Place the plantains into the hot oil and let them cook for 3-5 minutes until they are golden-brown and crispy on the bottom side.  

Flip and cook the opposite side until it turns golden-brown too.   Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain some of the oil.  
Sprinkle salt and sugar over the plantains immediately and serve hot.  We had them with some yellow rice and black beans, along with our mango salsa.  It was a tasty combination!

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