We love plantains. Yes we do. We love plantains. And so will you! But what the heck are plantains? The plantain is a green cousin to the banana, but a plantain can't be eaten raw - you have to fix it up in some way. Cooked green plantains are starchy and similar to potatoes; cooked ripe plantains are sweet and taste like bananas. Yum! Plantains are popular in tropical countries throughout Latin America and Africa. They are available in grocery stores in many areas of the United States, particularly where there are large Hispanic populations. You can also buy bags of plantain chips. Here are some recipes for plantains.
(Ripe Plantains - sweet ones) These are my favorite kinds of plantains - very yummy as a side dish or even as a dessert with ice cream. Thanks to Luz (FL) for this recipe!
(Fried Green Plantains) These are similar to thick potato chips or hash browns - maybe not. They're great anyways. Thanks again to Luz!
This is a sweet and spicy African plantain dish which I had at Taste of Chicago in the summer of 2001.
SWEET PLANTAIN SOUP
This recipe, along with the next, is from the book "A Taste of Cuba" by Linette Creen. No, I've never made plantain soup, but it sounds interesting.
1 T. butter
In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the plantains, flat side down, and saute them until lightly browned on both sides and tender in the middle.
Transfer the plantains to the workbowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Add 1 cup of the water and transfer to a medium-sized saucepan. Whisk in the remaining 3 cups of water. Add the lemon juice and place over medium-high heat until the soup reaches a low boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.
From the "Miami Spice" cookbook, which states, "The long strands of grated plantain look a little like the legs of a spider, whence the fritter's curious name.
2 large green plantains
Peel the plantains and grate on the course side of a hand grater or in a food processor fitted with the julienne disk. Cut the ginger into the thinnest possible slivers. Combine the plantain, ginger and garlic in a mixing bowl and toss with 2 spoons to mix. Just before serving, pour oil to a depth of at least 1 inch in a small frying pan or electric skillet, and heat to 350F. Using 2 spoons or your fingertips, form 1-inch balls of the plantain mixture and lower them into the oil. Don't pack the plantain shreds too tightly; the fritters should look spiky and lacy. Fry the spiders, turning with a skimmer or a slotted spoon, until golden brown, about 2 minutes total. Work in several batches, so as not to crowd the pan. Transfer the fritters to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve at once.
(Mashed green plantains) All together now: Little Bunny Fufu, walkin' through the forest, scoopin' up the field mice, pop 'em on the head. Down came the blue fairy, and she said: Enjoy these plantains!
5 small green plantains
Place the plantains in a large pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the plantains, cover the pot, and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer 30 minutes until the plantains are tender.
Drain in a colander and let the plantains cool enough to handle. Peel the plantains and place in a large mixing bowl. Chop the plantains into small pieces, then mash with a potato masher.
Add the butter and mix well. Add the milk, and salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture is dry, moisten slightly with warm milk and butter if you wish (I don't.) Serve warm.
THE LATIN QUARTER'S SEAFOOD CEVICHE
This recipe is courtesy of The Latin Quarter Restaurant, 2000, and was suggested by Amy (CA). I put it here because it uses plantain chips! Now if I could just FIND the darn things...
Mix together all ingredients except for romaine lettuce leaves, plantain chips, sweet potatoes, jalapenos, lime and lemon wedges and cilantro sprigs, in a bowl and marinate for 24 hours. Spoon ceviche into martini glasses. Place sweet potatoes on a plate. Place martini glass on plate with sweet potatoes. Place 1 slice of jalapeno, lime and lemon wedge on the sweet potatoes and garnish with a sprig of cilantro. Place romaine leaf and plantain chip in the ceviche.