Posts Tagged ‘plantains’

25 Ways to Use Plantains

Plantains are bananas’ starchier older cousin and, unlike bananas, thrive in savory applications. These guys are high in fiber and potassium, and chock full of vitamins A, B and C. Plantain chips are a delicious and nutritious alternative to potato chips (but generally still fried, so stay mindful when snacking).

Green plantains are super starchy — almost like a potato — and can be fried or boiled and then mashed. Grill or bake yellow plantains, which are slightly sweeter. Almost black plantains are the sweetest and are best in dessert applications. For more info on some Caribbean pantry staples check out Pantry: Caribbean Essentials. Plantains always need to be cooked before consuming, giving you the perfect excuse to peruse these 25 ways.

  1. Roger Mooking’s Plantain Gratin is topped with quick pickled shallots and jalapenos.
  2. Kelis utilizes leftover cooking liquid from her Plantain Mash to thin out the sauce from her Jumbo Shrimp with Tomato Fricasse and Strawberries (pictured above).
  3. Alton Brown’s Fried Plantains are fried, soaked in water and then fried again, while Emeril sticks to the simple single-fry method in his Fried Plantains.
  4. Sunny Anderson uses a combo of butter and canola oil for her Sauteed Plantains, the perfect side dish for Oxtail Stew.
  5. Lita Oliver’s Plantains a la Gloria is a simple dessert with a depth of flavor from cinnamon nutmeg, vanilla extract and just a bit of lemon juice.

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Sensational Sides: Mashed Plantains

While on vacation in the Dominican Republic a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have time for a leisurely breakfast each day featuring a Dominican classic: mangu. Mangu is mashed plantains with butter or olive oil and can be served plain or, as I often ate it, with fried cheese. Back at home and craving mangu once again, but with very little time to make breakfast in the morning, I decided to turn it into a side dish for dinner. In keeping with the flavors I missed from my trip, I made Camarones al Ajillo or Shrimp with Garlic to serve atop the mangu.

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Beyond Shepherd’s Pie: Puerto Rican Pastelón de Plátano Maduro

We’re down to the last few weeks of winter. Rather than pine for the warmer weather that’s around the corner, why not take advantage of cooler temperatures to indulge in all that’s soothing and filling? Of all the Caribbean comfort foods, plantains are the most versatile.  Even if you bring home too many, you’ll always find a use for them.  Bought green to make tostones, they can easily become mofongo.  Let them turn completely yellow, they can be steamed for a quick side dish of plátano sancochado.  Forget them altogether until they’re almost completely black, they can still be fried up to make maduros.


With a few yellow plantains on hand at the perfect mid-point — sweetly ripe but still firm enough to be boiled — I decided to make a Puerto Rican pastelón de plátano maduro.  Similar to a shepherd’s pie, the plantains are mashed together and layered with picadillo flavored with oregano, olives and capers, tomatoes and raisins then topped with cheese and baked.  The lower layer absorbs the juices from picadillo while the cheese crust balances out the sweetness from the plantains.

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