Plantains Fried and Smothered

If you’ve ever been to Latin America, you have undoubtedly enjoyed fried plantains. They can be prepared green, or at any point in their ripening process. Green plantains are light on the banana flavor and heavy in starch. When they ripen, they impart a rich yet subtle banana flavor and tend a little less starchy than the green. I think they may be an acquired taste for most Northerners, but once adopted, not to be forgotten. I’ve been pining for them since our Mexican holiday, but they’re not a commonly found co-op item. Last week’s shopping transgressions took me to Cub, where there is a plethora of plantain to be had. Not organic, unfortunately, but in my basket nonetheless.

These little amber jewels are easy to peel once ripe, and are a wonder sliced and fried in a little canola oil.  Until this evening I had never paired sweet plantains with savory, but I have to admit, I am hooked. This will definitely be a new staple amongst the variety of enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas and tacos that we eat regularly in our home. I also had a little dish of toasted coconut that found itself sprinkled over the plantains which turned out to be quite fabulous, indeed.

Smothered Fried Plantains Recipe

Ingredients:

  • plantains, one per person
  • canola to coat cast iron pan
  • black beans
  • cheddar cheese, grated
  • toasted coconut
  • Fresh Tomato Salsa
  • Tomatillo Salsa
  • cilantro, chopped
  • queso fresco, chopped

Directions: Peel and slice plantains so they are a little less than 1/2 inch thick. They can be sliced into circles, or you can cut the banana in half and then slice it into lengths. Heat the oil in a pan and fry bananas on each side until they are brown. Drain them on paper towel before serving.

Place plantains on a plate and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Top with a bit of grated cheddar cheese followed by black beans, salsa, cilantro and queso fresco. Serve with warm corn tortillas.

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