Fried Plantain Bananas


Plantains are firm green bananas, lower in sugar than the common yellow dessert banana. Common bananas are most often snacked on raw, while plantains usually require cooking or other processing. When they do turn yellow they are most often baked and have a wonderful sweet flavor. They are grown as far north as Florida, the Caribbean and Central America, South America in countries like Bolivia, Peru, Cuba, Ecuador, Colombia and southern Brazil, the Canary Islands, Madeira, Egypt, Nigeria and Southern Japan, Taiwan and as far South as KwaZulu-Natal.

My mother in law has enjoyed teaching me many South American dishes such as these Platinos, the dish referred to as Fried Plantains. I have enjoyed these fried treats for a little over twenty years now. My husband prefers them fried when they are fully green and very firm, they definitely are good, much like fried potatoes or chips, but I like them when they are just starting to change their color. They are still firm and fry well, but they have a tiny bit of a sweet taste which is only enhanced the more when salt is added during the frying process.

Choose plantains that are long and hefty, bright green without marks. You will have to slice off the outer peel, they are to tightly wrapped around the flesh to peel off easily. Slice to 1/4 inch thickness. Salt them when you put them in the oil. Salt them again when you turn them over. Fry in hot vegetable oil in medium low just to a golden color on each side.

Remove bananas from hot oil with a slotted spoon. With a heavy mallet or bottom of a flat heavy glass, (I use my mortar and pestle bowl) smash the plantains down and refry them in the hot oil. Watch that the oil doesn't get too overly hot while you are smashing them down or they will fry too quickly and get too brown. I often turn down my heat to low and then tun it back up to medium when I am ready to fry them again. Remove them to a plate with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Check to taste. Re salt if needed. Serve hot as a snack or with a meal.
Ciao and Buon Appetito! Laurie