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Fried Plantains – The Family’s New Favorite Side

Fried Plantains – The Family’s New Favorite Side

 

Has the common every day banana ever introduced you to its starchy cousin, the plantain? I would never dream of frying a banana, but for plantains, that’s the PERFECT way to prepare plantains.

fresh plantains

I was introduced to this delicious commodity back in my senior year of high school. One of the only lucky ones, I had my license and a car at that time. I also played baseball, so that means lugging around a careful of teenage baseball players to and from practices and games. I can’t complain though, they were great times.

Of those times sticks out in my head, because it’s when I first had plantains. Thus, the reason for my trip down memory lane.

My First Plantains

There were two brothers that came from Puerto Rico to go to our school in my junior year, I believe. They were both amazing at baseball so naturally they were on the team with me. They both needed a ride from their home to the field for a home game one day, so I headed to their house after I got ready at mine.

sliced plantains ready to be fried

Upon walking in the front door, the aroma hit me. It was the fried plantains, or “tostones” as they called them. I’d never had them before, and I honestly can’t remember if I even knew what they were before that day. The salient details from the visit escape me, but I remember trying the plantains.

They were crunchy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. They were salty with just a hint of sweetness. Fried to a perfect golden brown, I’ve though about those plantains up until this week, when I made them for my family.

Life Was Incomplete

I’m almost angry at myself for letting this delicious food escape my family and I for this long. As CHEAP as they and as EASY as they were to make, this is going to be a regular side and snack in my house from now on.

plantains frying in vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet

USEFUL EQUIPMENT ALERT!!!

For frying anything, I use to use a machine that held the oil that I kept up on the highest shelf in the house. That was, until I got my hands on my nifty cast iron skillet. It’s a 12″ and it came pre-seasoned. I love this thing and I do ALL of my frying in it now. It’s perfect. Check out the model that I have right here: Artisanal Kitchen Supply 12″ Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet

Back to the recipe…

I’m sure there are a lot of fancy ways to prepare plantains out there. But this is bare bones, simple, easy, fast and tasty. Nothing flashy, just slice fry once, remove, smash, flash fry again and serve.

fried plantains with sweet and spicy sauce

I keep a sweet and spicy sauce in the refrigerator for when we have quesadillas that’s made of mayo, minced picked Jalapenos with a little juice, cumin, paprika, sugar salt and garlic powder. This stuff went PERFECT with the fried plantains. Of course, they were amazing without sauce, but I’ll dip darn near anything in a sauce.

My goal is to eliminate the mystery surrounding those gigantic bananas you see in the grocery store called plantains. They can be such an easy, healthy and tasty dish that no one should be missing out on them. Please, try them out! You don’t know what you’re missing!

**you can use riper plantains, but they will be sweet and will not need to fry near as long

Recipe

  • 2-3 unripe plantains**, depending on amount needed (2 will feed 3-4)
  • vegetable or canola oil
  • salt and garlic powder or other seasoning of choice (old bay, cajun, onion powder, etc.)
  1. Peel and slice the plantains on the bias, about 1/8″ to 1/4″.
  2. In at least a 12″ cast iron or other heavy bottom skillet, heat 1/8″ oil over high heat for 5-10 or just before it starts smoking.
  3. Add plantains to the hot oil, filling the pan but giving each plantain plenty of breathing room.
  4. Fry about 3-4 minutes on each side, then remove to a plate or other heat proof surface.
  5. With a spatula, smash each plantain until the soft insides seep out.
  6. Return each plantain to the oil for 30-45 seconds on each side, or until everything is browned.
  7. Repeat this process until all plantains are fried.
  8. Season the plantains right out of the hot oil with salt or other seasonings you’d like to try. (I used garlic powder)

 

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