Plantains become very worth exploring when you’re trying to be compliant with a whole30 or paleo lifestyle. They’re handy stuff, fry, roast, pulverized and turned into tortillas, mashed and probably far more. The key to understanding their versatility is in their ripeness.
Plantains continue to ripen after they’ve been harvested, so when you get them they could be in any stage of ripeness from green to black. When plantains are green, they’re hard, starchy and potato like. These are used for tostones, which are kind of like thick potato chips which tend to be served as dippers for things like stew or as a tortilla chip substitute in nachos. Black plantains are quite soft and very sweet with a pronounced banana flavor, they’re generally fried and used as a sweet side or dessert. Yellow is the stage in between, semi-soft and semi-sweet where they’re at their most versatile and fantastic roasted or fried and stuffed.
Fried Sweet Plantains
Yeah, yeah, yeah, whole30 not allowed to have anything resembling dessert. The dreaded sex with your pants on rule, which makes sense if in fact you’re going to binge on something*. If you’re not going to binge but just want a taste of something a bit sweet, it make less sense. Once you become a whole30 veteran, it makes even less sense. So bring on the fried plantains, I say!
If you’re full on Whole30 just serve them as is, but they’re also great with a drizzle of maple syrup or buckwheat honey. Ice cream, if you’re into that sort of thing also rocks with them.
*My personal take on binging is that it’s related to ritualized compulsive comfort seeking behaviors, which simply put is that you’re comforting yourself as a way to compensate for something that’s missing from your life (which is not limited to something you have going on at this moment in time, the struggles that I’ve had stem from abuse in my childhood which I then expressed through compulsive eating as a way to be a parental/nourishing figure for myself.)
neutral flavored oil (I prefer grapeseed or coconut)
honey, maple syrup or other drizzle toppers
In pan, heat enough oil to cover halved plantains half way. about a 1/2″. Peel plantains and halve them and cut into 3 – 4 inch pieces. When the oil is heated enough to sputter when a bit of plantain is added, add in all the plantains and fry until golden brown. Flip and fry other side. If you like them to be crispier, flip again and fry until deep brown. (Experiment until you find out what you like.)
Remove from oil and drain on drying rack. Sprinkle with salt. Serve with drizzles if you’re into that kind of thing.
Patacon or Tostones
In pan, heat enough oil to completely cover plantains. Peel. Cut plantains in half, so that there are two full rounded plantains if you’re making patacon, into 1″ chunks if tostones. When the frying oil is hot enough to sputter when plantains are added, add in plantains. Brown on both sides. Remove from oil, smash and add back in to fry until golden brown. Stuff, dunk or top however you like.