I first tasted plantains back in 1982 when I moved to Key West and got introduced to Cuban food. Love at first bite from the marinated and slowly roasted pork, the garlic and olive oil laden yucca to the deliciously sweet buttery plantains which tasted like #dessert.
It wasn’t until about 10 years later that I actually learned to cook them at home. It took several tries since I initially bought them slightly green. And while they can be eaten that way I soon learned from my Cuban friends it is a different way of cooking and a completely different taste. If you’re looking for the soft sweet taste you need to start with very ripe plantains. . .
You won’t always find them this way in the market so I generally buy them yellow with a few black spots. Then you can wait it out until they turn darker or hasten the process by storing them in a brown paper bag. Either way you want them to be almost completely black in color.
Next you’re going to peel them and let me tell you the ripe ones are much easier to peel than the green ones. I cut off the ends and then with a sharp knife slice thorough the peel about halfway down. That’s enough to get it started and it will usually peel like a regular banana from there.
Next I will slice them at a slight diagonal. Meanwhile I melt the fat I am using in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. I’ve used grass fed butter, lard, coconut oil and sometimes a combo of lard and butter. Each will give a slightly different taste/flavor. They are all good; I will often choose the ‘flavor’ that will best complement what I am serving them with. My personal favorite is butter.
Place the plantains in the hot melted fat in the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until nicely browned. Turn gently using a pair of tongs and cook that side for 3-4 minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
These go exceptionally well with slow roasted pork, mojo chicken and many other dishes or as a dessert!
Recipe & Ingredients
3 ripe plantains
2-3 tablespoons of raw gf butter, lard or coconut oil
sea salt optional