Plantains are a staple food in Jamaica. They look identical to their cousin, the banana, but their flesh is starchier and firmer. Like a banana, the plantain skin starts out green and changes from yellow to black as it ripens. Plantains also become sweeter as they ripen. They're often cooked and served as a vegetable side dish in Jamaican meals. This versatile food can be cooked in a variety of ways at any stage of ripeness and eaten as a savory side or dessert.
Things You'll Need
- Vegetable oil or butter
- Large skillet
- Spatula or tongs
- Baking sheet
- Brown sugar
- Basting brush
Cut both ends off the plantains. Slit the skin vertically from end to end in several places and remove the peels with a knife.
Slice the plantains vertically in thin strips or diagonally in thick chunks. Season them with salt, pepper and cinnamon.
Heat vegetable oil or butter in a large skillet on the stove. Wait for the oil to get hot, and lay the plantain pieces in the skillet.
Fry the plantains for about 15 minutes, or until both sides are golden. Remove the plantains from the skillet, drain them on a paper towel and allow them to cool before eating.
Peel the plantains by cutting off both ends. Slit the skin vertically from end to end in several places and remove the peels with a knife. Slice the plantains in thin, vertical strips.
Line a baking sheet with foil for an easy clean-up. Lay the sliced plantains on the baking sheet. Brush the slices with butter or olive oil and season them with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and salt.
Bake the plantains at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and check them after 30 minutes. Baked plantains are finished when they're golden brown and the brown sugar has caramelized.
Choose ripe plantains. Lay them on a hot grill whole with the skins on. Cover the grill.
Check the plantains and watch for the skins to rupture. Taste them to determine if they're ready or continue cooking until the flavor is to your liking.
Remove plantains from the grill with tongs. Allow them to cool. Peel the skins, slice and eat.
Tips & Warnings
- Make twice-fried plantains by first making fried plantains. Put the fried plantains on a plate and mash them lightly with a potato masher. Fry the plantain patties a second time in the oiled skillet until the outer layer is golden and crispy.
- Ripe plantains, those that are black or beginning to turn black, are easier to peel than green ones.
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