I remember when I was younger I would go to the grocery story with my grandma. Like most kids, I was inquisitive about everything we passed, especially in the produce aisle. After I had "sampled" a few grapes (like you never did that?), I remember asking her once how they got such big bananas? She told me that they were not bananas, but plantains. I asked her if I could have one. She said, no, that I would not like them because they were not sweet. "Besides," she said, "only Cubans and Puerto Ricans eat them". That was that, until I moved to Maryland when I was older (but still a young'un). While I lived there briefly, this girl, who later I could NOT stand, invited our family over to eat with her and her husband (also annoying) and introduced us to these tasty side kicks. She showed me how to slice the plantains, batter them in corn meal, and fry them up. She served hers with garlic salt. Okay, even though she was annoying as "H-E-Double hockey sticks", I still continued to use her plantain recipe for special occasions. I think that is pretty big of me.
Now, I am slightly older and living in H-Town, the melting pot of Texas, where all cultures meet and cook and eat. I have seen plantains in many forms. While I still love the old standby recipe, I have adapted a new recipe from the local restaurants here and from Chef John of Food Wishes.
Here is how I do it now:
It is simple, just pick a nicely ripened, but still firm, plantain. Slice it into 1/4" medallions. Fry them in a light oil until slightly softened and browned, about one minute on each side or so. Then, allow to drain on a paper towel for a few minutes, until medallions are cool enough to handle. Cover medallions with wax paper, then smash with rolling pin, pestle, or bottom of a cup or jar, until the medallions are at least 1/8 " thick. Fry them for about two minutes on each side. Then, drain again on paper towels. Sprinkle with garlic salt or seasoning of choice. Then, serve with dipping sauce of choice; salsa, sour cream, yogurt, etc... These are best served warm. They are simple, easy, AFFORDABLE, and present an exotic, but comfortable touch when entertaining or cooking at home.
I also use this recipe with unripened bananas, ripened ones would be too mushy, trust me. Bananas are sweeter when fried than the plantains, and the kids love them, especially when drizzled with melted peanut butter or sprinkled with brown sugar or cinnamon sugar. Just omit the garlic salt for a sweeter version and adjust the frying time as it will take less time to soften and cook. You can do this with the plantains as well.
You can also grill the plantains and bananas for a healthier version. Of course, the texture will be different. I grill them as a side and fry them as an appetizer!
So there, Marisol! I no longer need your recipe, but I must admit, I still use it from time to time. Just not as much as I used to ( See how much I have matured?)
Have a great Monday and start to your week.