When cruising the produce aisle, do you tend to be oblivious to the oversize-banana-like plantains? I did until recently, when I decided to try them for variety in our meals’ starch component. The riper ones are enjoyable steamed in water, then drained and mashed with olive oil, salt and a little more water as needed. This week’s recipe is for the green-to-mostly-yellow ones: fried plantains. They’re twice-fried, making them soft and puffy on the inside and crisp on the outside. The recipe is based on instructions by kitchen-science-oriented television chef Alton Brown. These are delicious with avocado mayonnaise or strawberry-jalapeno salsa.
Plantains turn from green to yellow to black within a few days, so if you intend to fry them, do it soon after buying them. For frying I used coconut oil, which in cooler weather needs to be made pourable by placing the jar in a pan of water over low heat for a few minutes.
Even though I’ve tried to serve these fried plantains as part of our meal, we usually can’t wait and eat some of them as an appetizer hot from the oil.
You use garlic cloves to flavor the salt water that cools the plantain after the first frying. Don’t let them go to waste! When finished frying the plantain, fry the garlic cloves in the hot oil until golden, chop them, and sprinkle onto the avocado mayonnaise. Alternatively, you can use the crispy garlic on another dish such as a salad.
|Fried Plantains|| |
- Oil for frying, about 12 ounces (about 1 inch deep in pot or skillet)
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus extra for seasoning
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 green-to-yellow plantains
- Place oil in a pot or large skillet. Clip thermometer to side of pan. Heat oil to 325 degrees.
- Cut ends off of plantains. Make two lengthwise scores in peels and remove peels. Slice plantains crosswise into approximately 1 1/2-inch pieces.
- Place about 3 cups water and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Place smashed garlic cloves in the salt water.
- Carefully lower several of the plantain pieces into hot oil, and position with flat sides down. Loosen any that stick to the bottom. Fry until golden, about 1 1/2 minutes per side, turning over carefully with slotted spoon or tongs.
- With the slotted spoon, remove the pieces from the oil and set them, with cut sides vertical, on a cutting board. With the back of a flat wooden spoon or spatula, gently press on the pieces to flatten them to about 1/4 inch thick.
- Place the flattened pieces in the water and soak about 1 minute. Then remove from water, place on a tea towel, and pat dry. Repeat with remaining plantain pieces.
- Return flattened pieces to oil, as many as will fit. Fry for 2 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining pieces.
- If desired, fry garlic cloves in oil until crisp and golden. Cool, chop, and sprinkle on avocado mayonnaise, a salad, or anywhere you like.
- Serve fried plantain immediately with avocado mayonnaise or salsa.
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