You see them at the farmstand. They are what bananas might look like if they were genetically spliced with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Maybe they frighten you. Maybe you simply don’t know how to eat them. Let us help you.
Plantains are amazingly tasty cousins of bananas. They are starchier than bananas, so generally are much more palatable when cooked. Plantains can be eaten when the peel is green or yellow. The riper they become, the sweeter they are.
Sweeeeeet Yellow Fried Plantains
For sweet yellow plantains like the ones in this photo, we like them fried. Peel off their thick skin, slice them lengthwise into 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick pieces and fry them in a hot buttered pan, turning occasionally until they are nicely browned on both sides. These are insanely good as a snack or dessert. They hold together better than fried bananas. We challenge you not to eat them all at once.
Potatoey Green Plantains
For green plantains, you can bake, boil or roast them like potatoes. They are a very nutritious starch with plenty of fiber. They’ll be trickier to peel, so try cutting both ends off, making a slit lengthwise along the peel, and keep your hands wet as some kinds of green plantains can stain your fingers!
You can also use plantains to make tostones, which are essentially plantain “chips.” To make tostones, you peel and slice the plantains into rounds, about 3/4″ thick, season them a bit, fry them in oil until just golden, drain and allow them to cool. Then smash them flat, and fry them again briefly to achieve crispiness.
Search the web for more detailed recipes on making plantains part of your healthy, local, Caribbean diet. Experiment, and tell us about the results on your next visit to the farmstand! Who needs potatoes?