Plantains belong to the banana family and resemble large, sturdy bananas; however, they are quite different than their smaller cousins. You cannot eat plantains without cooking them. They are quite possibly the most versatile produce you may ever come across in terms of using it as a fruit or a vegetable. They also have a very lengthy shelf life, making it convenient to purchase ahead of time to keep until you are ready to cook.
Green plantains are treated much like a vegetable, a potato to be precise, because of its high starch and low sugar content. Plantains are very popular in Latin, Southern Asian, Western African and Caribbean cuisine, usually baked, fried, boiled, or steamed.
When ripened, you can treat the sweet plantains like a hearty dessert. I love pan frying ripe plantains and serving them with sunny-side-up eggs and fresh-squeezed orange juice! It’s the perfect breakfast.
It doesn’t matter what stage you purchase the plantains, but it’s best to have an idea how you want to cook it. If you need the plantains to be sweet, it will take about 3-5 days to turn this color (see image below). The blacker the skin turns, the sweeter the fruit inside, which is how I like my platanos. Perfection.
- 1-2 large plantains ~ let them ripen for about 3-7 days
- cooking oil
- Using a sharp paring knife, cut off both ends. Remove the skin by making a long slit down the side, then peel away the skin.
- Slice the plantains about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick. You can cut them lengthwise or into medallions like I did.
- Heat some cooking oil in a large pan.
- Lay the plantains flat in the pan, making sure they are not touching.
- Fry them on both sides until they are golden. Some folks prefer them almost charred. Enjoy! 🙂