Tag Archives: plantain

Not Your Mama’s Plantains

We watch a lot of cooking shows, like a lot a lot.  I’ve noticed that most dishes focusing on Puerto Rican food have plantains in it.  I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to visit my parents in Puerto Rico over the Thanksgiving holiday.

beach

tunnel

on the beach

San Juan fort

Being that I had never tried plantains before (shocker, I know), I was so excited to try them on this trip.  I tried so many different versions and was so stinkin’ disappointed that I didn’t really care for them.  Not to let that stop me, I kept trying them.  Over, and over, and over, and…you get the idea.  To those of you who like the original plantain, I am so jealous, and this recipe is probably not for you.  Although the recipe may provide an interesting change…maybe?

When figuring this recipe out, I was thinking about my favorite way to indulge in starches.  I love mashed potato leftovers formed into patties and pan-fried.  I was hoping plantains wouldn’t be any different.

To start, take two ripe plantains.  They should be fairly soft (again, I have no idea if this is traditional when using plantains, but it is what I did).

ripe plantains

Peel the plantains, mash ‘em, and lightly cover the mush with salt and pepper.  I love salt, so it is a must for me.  If you don’t like salt (whaaaaa????) then leave it out.  I must warn you…if you leave it out, you may end up with bland goop.  That’s just my very biased opinion.

mash

Ok.  Now that we have established that I love salt, I will remind you, yet again, that I have had a long-standing love affair with scallions.  Unfortunately, I was out and no interest in going to the store.  The next best option was to use sliced washed leeks.  I sautéed them in butter for just a few minutes to slightly soften them.  If you use scallions, there is no need to soften them.  Now combine everything, and add a few tablespoons of flour, just to firm up the texture a little bit.  I also added about 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro, just for a little extra flavor and the pretty green color.

flour 

Next, take ¼ cup of the mixture, flatten it between your hands and coat the patties in seasoned breadcrumbs.  Once all the patties are formed, place them on a plate and refrigerate for an hour or so.  This will ensure that they stay together during cooking.

Finally, heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, and add just a little bit of oil to keep the butter from browning.  Cook the plantain patties until both sides are browned, turning only once during cooking.

Now comes the best part: time to chow down.  I decided to serve them with the most delicious spicy mango sauce that my amazing mother made and sent home with us from Puerto Rico.  It is unfortunately almost gone…she may have to mail more.  That wasn’t too subtle, was it?  Maybe she will even post the recipe sometime (it is that amazingly good, and you haven’t lived until you try it.  For real.)

done 

Happy February to you all, and here’s to many more delicious meals in 2014.

Janessa

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The 11th Day

On the 11th day before Christmas (I know, it’s past midnight and thus technically the 10th day before Christmas, but these things happen), The Troikas gave to me: TOSTONES.

I first sampled these fried plantain slices in Puerto Rico, when visiting Mom and Dad at their new Puerto Rican headquarters. They were delicious, salty, and often served with a salsa or something saucy. I made them to go with a beef curry (recipe coming soon!), and they were the perfect thing to sop up the spicy curry juices.

frying

Tostones
adapted from Saveur 

Vegetable or olive oil for frying
3 green plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick rounds
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Pour about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of oil into a large, heavy-bottomed skillet.  Heat over medium-high heat until about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (If you don’t have a thermometer, just stick a piece of plantain in the oil, and once it starts sizzling, it’s ready to go).

Fry plantains until soft, about 8 minutes, turning over half way through. (Work in batches if needed, as you don’t want to overcrowd your skillet.) They might start to crisp on the outside, but that’s fine. Remove the plantains to a paper towel-lined baking sheet, but don’t take the oil off the heat. Increase the heat a little bit, so that your oil is about 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Or, if you don’t have a thermometer, just increase the heat a notch. It’ll be fine. I did it without a thermometer, and so can you.

half smushed, half not

Smush each plantain piece with the palm of your hand into a disk. (You can put a paper towel in between your palm and the plantain if you don’t want to get too oily.) Once the oil is heated a bit more, fry the plantains until crisp, about 4 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. I’d suggest relining your baking sheet with new paper towels, but do what you gotta do. Lightly salt the tostones while they’re still hot.

Serve with salsa, guacamole, or beef curry.

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

the beginning

Happy frying!

Kara

P.S. If you live in Washington, D.C., I highly recommend you go to Pelican’s Rum on U St. We just had the Stewed Chicken (served with rice and peas and some cabbage), and I want to eat that chicken every day for the rest of my life.

Seriously.

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