Today’s Secret Ingredient for Friday Foodie Fix is plantains. Plantains hang out in the banana world. They are a staple food in the tropical regions of the world much like potatoes are in the US. While most bananas are eaten raw, plantains are usually cooked. They can be steamed, baked, fried, broiled, grilled and sautéed.
When purchasing plantains consider how you want to use them in your recipe. Plantains are used either when green or under-ripe (and therefore starchy and should only be boiled or fried) or black and overripe (and therefore sweet). If you want to speed up the ripening process, store them in a paper bag until they turn black.
To peel a plantain cut off both ends. With the tip or your knife score it all the way from top to bottom. Using your fingers wedge them under the skin and peel. The greener the plantain, the harder it is to peel.
I have roasted plantains and then used them in a soup with sweet potato puree, a Bobby Flay recipe. For years I used to just slice them up and toss them in the pan with oil until they were brown and crisping. It was my usual side dish when making recipes like Jerk Chicken and Pork and Jerk Chicken Wings. Now I also like to make Tostones which are slices fried once, smashed and fried . I use them as the basis for my Cubano Jerk Burger. This week I shared with you Pastelón. We’re still eating from that large pan I made. It’s great to freeze and pull out when I’m needing that tropical feeling.
I hope if you have never tried one of those long big bananas you see at the grocery store, this will give you the courage to buy a plantian, cook it and eat it. I’m telling you, you’ll be hooked.
If you have cooked with plantains, please share your recipes here with Mr. Linky or in the comments area. Make sure your link is directly to that post and that you share the link love right back to this post. For all of the Friday Foodie Fix info and past secret ingredients, check out it’s own dedicated page.
Next Week’s Secret Ingredient is ……….. Coconut Milk!