Friday, February 5, 2010

Plantains with Mango Salsa

Have you ever eaten a plantain? If you've visited the Caribbean you've probably at least sampled them or you could have had them at your local Cuban restaurant. More than likely you've had plantain chips from your grocer, they come in as many flavors as do potato chips. By their appearance you can easily guess that they are a member of the banana family.

Don't try to peel and eat these! They are starchy, low in sugar and must be cooked before they are consumed. Normally fried or baked, the plantain is used as a vegetable rather than as a fruit like a banana. I love plantains and today I thought I would show you how I cook and serve them.

Just like a banana, a plantain tastes different according to how ripe it is — when green to yellow it will taste bland and starchy. As it ripens, the plantain will have more of a sweeter flavor — but not as sweet as a banana. The moister content of a banana is higher than that of a plantain, so the process that converts starches to sugar (hydrolysis) makes them ready to eat when the skin is yellow. This process is slower in plantains because they have a lower moisture contest, so the skin must be speckled or almost black before they are ready to be cooked.

On this day, I was looking for a bland plantain to go with my meal, so I selected one that was lightly speckled. Slice lengthwise through the thick skin on each of four sides and then remove the peel. I cut the plantain in half crosswise and then cut each half lengthwise into about 1/4-inch thick slices.

Heat enough canola oil to 350 degrees so that it comes about halfway up your slices of plantain — about 1/8th of an inch. Put slices in pan so that sides don't touch and fry about 2–3 minutes on each side, until they turn a nice golden brown. They cook quickly, so I don't recommend trying to photograph them as they cook. :)

Use a slotted spatula, so that the oil will drain as you move them to a plate. Do not put them on paper towels as they will stick. Serve immediately! I always have the rest of my meal prepared before I start frying my plantains.

For this meal, I served them with roasted garlic chicken breasts, rice, and black beans.

Isn't my rice pretty? This is what I use to season my rice:

Sazon (seasoning) is a combination of herbs and spices that carries Latino and Caribbean flavors. I put this in in a pot with two cups boiling water, one cup long grain rice, one can Rotel tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes; remove from heat and let sit, covered for five more minutes. Use the mild or original Rotel tomatoes, the hot is too HOT for this recipe, I found this out the hard way.

I serve this meal with my favorite salsa — Chachies Mango and Peach. The flavors are perfect with this meal, but you can substitute with your favorite.

There you have it, one of my favorite meals and so very Caribbean. So, go tropical and look for plantains in your local market.

Before you go off to visit other fabulous Foodie Friday participants with Michael @ Designs By Gollum, I wanted to let you know that this will be my last entry for a few months. I am moving to Georgia on April 1st and Sister and I are busy separating and packing our combined household. Who gets what? Well, Sister is taking the couch, chair and coffee table. Me? I'm taking the stove, of course! I love my stove and I know I will need it to prepare more recipes to share with you. I'm going to be sharing more tropical recipes, picnic specialties and foods for camping once I get settled into my new home. Until then, I will still be blogging, I will still be visiting your blogs, but preparing meals will be limited to quick and easy — think can opener, frozen, instant and delivery!

Aloha for now my foodie friends!

23 Thoughtful Comments:

The Quintessential Magpie said...

That is one of my favorite meals, Rhonda! Love it! Black beans and plantains are about as good as it gets. They are on the menu in a number of St. Augustine restaurants, and I am crazy about them!

Happy Foodie Friday...


Sheila :-)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Oh, and Happy Foodie Friday!



(I checked out that cute furniture... Lotto!)

Jane said...

Hi Rhonda!
Like you...and beans, yellow rice, and plantains are some of my favorite foods. This meal looks YUMMY! In fact, I will now have to go to the store to get a plantain for tonight's dinner.
When you fry your plantains, what type of oil do you use?

Happy Foodie Friday!
Jane (Artfully Graced)

Shellbelle said...

Hi Jane, great question! I updated my post to say that I use canola oil to fry my plantains. Hope you enjoy tonight's dinner, let me know how they turn out!

The Fajdich Times said...

Looks very yummy!!

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Thanks for the "low-down" on this yummy recipe!


Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Rhonda
Well bananas used to be one of my most favourite foods!!! and then I found out i was allergic to them and strangely haven't had a banana since.. I say strangely as I have no self control.. hahaha... this.. looks fantastic.. I have never heard of or tried one but it's making me hungry looking at this meal.. what time is dinner?? hehe Have a great weekend.. xx Julie

Anonymous said...

Yum! You have left me so hungry. That salsa sounds refreshing. We are expecting 15-23 inches of snow... again for toinght and I don't think I can brave it out to get ingredients for mango salsa, but maybe when we thaw out we can = )

susan said...

Rhonda-I had plantains in Virgin Gorda, but have never known what to do with them myself! Thanks for the intersting information. The salsa sounds like a breath of spring!

Anonymous said...

Mmmm you plate looks very delicious! I love having a colourful meal, it makes it taste better! I've never tried a plantain, and probably won't because I have a banana allergy. But it looks good! :)

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Plantains are delicious, but I can't get them in my area. I have to travel to Philadelphia or Washington DC and get them in restaurants there. Oh, now I am hungry for them. Beautifully presented!

Jane said...

Hi Rhonda
Thanks for the info on which oil you use. (My G-ma used olive oil for everything...and that can sometimes be a bit heavy.)

And many thanks for the lesson re: egrets. I trusted my hubby's info (after all, "Marty knows everything". (a family joke...and usually he does) This little bit of wisdom was from his childhood...a LONG time ago. ;-D
I will make a correction, thanks to you. :-)

Hugs...and stay inside...there's a storm coming!!!
Jane (artfully graced)

Sue said...

We always order these at Tommy Bahama's. They sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar and serve with a salsa. I love them.


bunny, The Paris House Designs said...

Hi Shellbelle,
I love plantains and I am going to use your recipe! I had them over the summer at a restaurant but I didn't have a good recipe.

Has it warmed up down there?? We are getting a big snow storm this evening so I need to stock up on some food, I don't think we will be getting out at all.
Stay warm
PS, I just found out today that about 99% of my emails never 'sent' out to the one has received them. I don't know if you got the two I sent you, one was regarding Oliver and the other was my checking in to see how you are doing and to let you know I'm thinking of you. I couldn't figure out why my business clients, family and friends weren't understanding what was going on , until today one of my assistants called to ask me if I was okay, she didn't receive the last 20 emails I sent her regarding business !! Oh well just want to make sure you know Oliver and I are thinking of you. ( and I hope you don't mind his leaving you little comments, he adores you :)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Rhonda, I've lost your phone number. If you still have mine, please give me a call! Thanks!


Sheila :-)

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Love plantains. Yum, yum.


Rattlebridge Farm said...

I've always looked at plantains in the grocery but was SKEEREd to buy one. What to do with it? Now I know! I am having a serious craving for black beans and rice!

Florida Native Mom said...

The only time I ever tried to cook these it was a disaster. Now I buy them in the frozen food section ready to cook. Easy!

Lori E said...

I have never had plantain. It isn't a big seller up here on the west coast of Canada.
We don't have Rotel, or Chachies salsa or Sazon with Coriander and Annatto?
I am pretty much out of luck on this whole dinner.

Maya @ Completely Coastal said...

Does that plantain has my name on it!!!???

Rhonda, you won a month of free ad space for blogging about the giveaway!

I'll put your button up this weekend.

Have a great weekend. Hope all is well!

Lindsay-ann said...

Hi Rhonda
The dish you cooked looks delicious. We are not very adventurous with food and I had never even heard of a plantain! It does look very appetizing.
Best Wishes with your forthcoming move to Georgia. It sounds like you are ready for a new start back with your family. They must be so pleased and excited to be getting you back. I enjoyed reading about your interesting family history. You truly will be returning to your 'roots'.
Sorry I have beem missing for a while. This computer has been struggling to download certain blogs, including yours. It gets so far and crashes. We have cleared some cookies and it seems to have done the trick.
Have a lovely weekend.

Anonymous said...

Boy have I ate that meal plenty of times! It's a FL thing! Your finished plate is very appealing. Have a great weekend!

The Muse said...

So sorry for being late!
But alas between meds and sleep...I have not been up to par...LOL

Illness is kicking my behind.

This looks so delicious. It actually is one of my favorites. A lot of people have not tasted it, so a great post..let's hope they try it!

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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