Question: I always walk by the plantains at the grocery store, and I love foods with plantains when I eat out. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to use them or how to incorporate them into a meal and the last time I attempted to cook a plantain ended in failure. How should plantains be prepared?
Answer: I too love plantains, and they’re easy to prepare if you know how to shop for them. If you pick out firm green-ish plantains like these:
you can use them as a starch in stews and soups, much like you would a potato. If you pick out soft, yellow and black plantains like these:
you can make fried or sweet plantains (as seen in the top picture), which is the kind you’ve probably had at restaurants, and the kind I find most delicious.
- 2 large yellow/black plantains, medium-soft to the touch
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- Kosher salt
- Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Peel plantains by scoring the peel with a small knife and cutting all the way down, then remove the plantain and slice into thick diagonal slices.
- Gently place plantain slices in skillet in a single layer and sprinkle generously with salt (may have to cook in 2 batches, so save remaining Tbsp oil in case). Let cook for 2-3 minutes (until light brown crust forms) then flip, sprinkle again with salt, and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Remove to a paper-towel to drain, then serve as a side dish. Delicious alongside beans, rice, and salad; or, drizzle with honey and serve as dessert.