My mother just returned from a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she ate plantains fourteen different ways at every meal. She recreated one dish for us at dinner last weekend: peppers stuffed with plantains, cheese, and a bit of bacon, then roasted. They were delicious, but our peppers were small, so we ended up with one plantain leftover, which I brought home. It sat on my counter for a week and then, this afternoon, Henning asked “What’s going to happen with that plantain? Are you going to fry it?” So, I did.
I never thought that it would be so easy to recreate such a delicious exotic treat at home. I’ve eaten fried plantains at my favorite ‘expensive’ restaurant, El Q’ero (formerly Amici), several times before. These turned out pretty much exactly like theirs: crisp and caramelized on the outside, smooth, creamy, and sweet on the inside. I sprinkled them with salt just as I took them out of the oil, and served them with a drizzle of yogurt and a healthy sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Talk about an afternoon snack!
2 brown-ripe plantains
canola or other vegetable oil
yogurt or sour cream
Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until very hot but not smoking, about 325 degrees. With the peel still on, slice each plantain in half, crosswise, and then cut each half into four 1/4 inch strips, lengthwise. Remove the peel and carefully slide the slices of plantain into the oil and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. You will need to work in batches. I was able to fit one plantain worth of slices in my 12″ skillet.
When the slices are cooked, remove them from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels, to drain for about a minute. Sprinkle them with salt. Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with yogurt or sour cream and dust with as much cayenne pepper as you can handle. Serve immediately.
Serves 4, as an appetizer.