April 28, 2006
Sweet Plantains

Have you ever cooked with plantains? They look like bananas, but act very differently. Each plantain is a packet of starch. Recipes for green platains, in fact, treat them more like a potato than like a relative of the banana. Tostones are a Puerto Rican delicacy made with plantains using garlic and frying plantain slices twice, and its delicious.

We, however are going with a use for black plantains. You wouldn't buy a banana that was mostly black, but if you want to make a sweet dessert with plantains, this is exctly what you want. As the plantain ages, the starches inside break down and mellow into simpler sugars.

Peeling the plantain is more difficult that peeling a banana. I recommend scoring the peel and getting an initial cut started before you pull the peel down off the plantain. What's inside looks a lot like a rich banana, with a slightly more intense golden tint. The fruit will be firmer than most green bananas.

This recipe is in the same family as bananas foster, and if you wanted to, you could add the liquor and extra butter to make a plantains foster. This is a little lighter and a little healthier than that classic Big Easy dish and is still delicious.

Sweet Plantains

2 plantains, black peels, firm fruit, peeled, sliced into 1/2" rounds
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves

Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves together well.

Melt the butter over high heat in a medium to small skillet. Arrange the plantains in the skillet and sautee for about 30 seconds. Flip and sautee for another 30 seconds.

Add the brown sugar mix to the pan, sprinkling over all the plantains. Stir well to distribute sugar on plantains. If you can do the pan flip thing, flip the plantains in the pan repeatedly to coat them evenly with the butter and sugar. If you can't, stir occasionally, flipping the plantain slices over from time to time.

Continue sauteeing for about 5 minutes until the sugar carmelizes and the plantains get a nice dark coating of the mix.

Serve with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at April 28, 2006 7:29 AM Print-friendly version

Down here they deep fry the plantain. Twice. And sometimes they are then topped with melted cheese. I wonder if the healthfulness of Colombian cooking is correlated to the high rate of liposuction? These are called patacones - had a good one last night, in fact. It's about the only way I eat something in so close relation to the banana.

Posted by Justin on April 28, 2006 at 9:37 AM

I love plantain!
It's delicious with a goat curry!
(jamaican recipe)
unfortunately my blog is on blogspot...
A bientôt

Posted by ooishigal on April 28, 2006 at 10:04 AM

ooishigal - give us the url with an edit.

Such as myblog.blogspotDOTcom.

Posted by barrett on April 28, 2006 at 10:51 AM

I like black plantains simply panfried in peanut oil into which a bit of butter has been melted.

That is the Cuban way--with black beans and rice (Moros y Christianos) and Vaca Frita or Ropa Vieja, they are fantastic.

Posted by Barbara on April 28, 2006 at 11:44 AM

This was my first time ever cooking with plantains. I'm glad its brought some great suggestions. Barbara, I like the Cuban suggestion. I've always loved Cuban food.

Posted by barrett on April 28, 2006 at 12:19 PM

I use to cook plantain here in French Guyana
They taste great in curry or whith fish.

Posted by brigitte on April 28, 2006 at 12:46 PM

It's delicious,i'll try your recipe. We served it usually with fish

Posted by salwa on April 28, 2006 at 4:15 PM

We use this dark plantains too..dip in a batter of all purpose flour and deep fry, sometimes with a coconut filling.

Posted by Gini on April 30, 2006 at 5:01 PM

THe best thing about -PLaintins is that they are low in Fat Quantity and rich in CAlories. So , all you foodies out there who are looking to fill your stomachs without putting on weight , plaintians are asure and healthy substitute for rich food low in nourishment qualities.

Posted by sam on May 1, 2006 at 6:09 AM

when i lived in west africa all the street vendors would take the blackest plantains, deep fry them in red palm oil, and serve them with a chili tomato paste. Mmmmmm!

Posted by nina on May 3, 2006 at 11:26 AM

I want to know whar Sweet Plantains are.

Posted by Lawrence on October 25, 2007 at 10:22 AM
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