For my 50th post, I’m going simple. One of my favorite snacks or side dishes is a simple sauteed plantain. Plantains can be a little confusing because there are plenty of ways to cook them, it’s kinda hard to tell when they’re perfect to eat, and depending on how you cook them they can taste totally different from another method (sweet versus savory depending on ripeness).
One frustration I’ve been dealing with lately is buying plantains at the perfect ripeness. We all know that if you want them to be sweet, they’re ready to eat when the outside is almost black. The problem is, they’re usually picked while they’re still green, so by the time they end up on your table, they’ve been picked for weeks already. That means they weren’t ever ready to be picked in the first place, so often times you’ll end up with plantains that look great on the outside, but rotten to the core on the inside.
Wanna know my trick for finding good plantains? Go to a Hispanic food market! The Latin community is more familiar with these guys and know when they’re ready to eat. I picked out two perfect ones at the market a few days ago, and they’re cheap too!
If you start to peel it and it’s very difficult to peel, to the point where you have to start cutting it off with a knife, it’s not ready to eat (if you want them sweet). It should come off easily like a banana.
So it’s real simple. Start by slicing it up. You can do like me and cut circles or cut it right down the middle and have two big pieces. Add to a heated, greased pan and cook on medium low heat.
I prefer to let them cook slowly for quite a while until they’re golden brown. When they’re ripe, they caramelize perfectly and get a tiny crunch on the outsides.
Flip ’em over and cook till the other side is golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy!
1 plantain – $.22