Plantains come in different ripeness at the grocery store. So which ones do you want to buy? Well, that depends on the taste you are wanting. As the plantain ripens, it becomes sweeter. Think of how a banana ripens. The plantain is usually green when it is first harvested. Then as it ripens, it moves from green to yellow to black. As it ripens, the plantain becomes softer. The softer it gets the sweeter it gets.
When choosing a plantain, decide which stage of ripeness you want. Using the list below, you can determine which to buy.
- Green- when fried tastes similar to potato – hashbrown, french fries
- Yellow – when fried tastes similar to banana when mixed with fruit and yogurt – think banana pudding
- Black – when fried tastes similar to the yellow just a good bit sweeter like a fruit cobbler
All shades of plantains taste lovely with a bit of freshly ground Pink Himalayan Salt.
Using a tostonera is the most convenient way to mash fried plantains, although, you may use a glass bottom or can in a pinch. The tostonera prevents smushing it too much!
To peel a plantain, cut the ends off first. Then with the point of a small paring knife, slice the skin along a ridge or two lengthwise. You do not want to cut too deeply, just through the peel. Then, along the cut line, use your fingers to separate the peel from the inside of the plantain. It will resemble a peeled banana at this point.
- 2 medium plantain peeled and sliced into 1" thick circles
- salt to taste - I like freshly ground Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
- 4 tablespoon cooking fat ghee, olive oil or avocado oil - bacon dripping from breakfast works well too
- Heat cooking fat in large skillet on medium heat. You'll want the skillet large enough to place the plantain slices in a single layer. Don't crowd. Cook in batches if the skillet is not large enough to accommodate all of the sliced plantains. Add fat as needed to prevent sticking. Reduce heat as needed to prevent smoking.
- Choose your desired plantain ripeness: Green- when fried tastes similar to potato - hashbrown, french fry. Yellow - when fried tastes similar to banana when mixed with fruit and yogurt - think banana pudding. Black - when fried tastes similar to the yellow just a good bit sweeter
- To peel a plantain, cut the ends off first. Then with the point of a small paring knife, slice the skin along a ridge or two lengthwise. You do not want to cut too deeply, just through the peel.
- Then along the cut line, use your fingers to separate the peel from the inside of the plantain. It will resemble a peeled banana at this point.
- Slice the plantain into 1" thick circles like you would use for banana pudding.
- Transfer sliced plantain circles into the skillet with heated cooking fat. Fry about three minutes. Then flip over and fry another three minutes.
- You may notice the fat is brown. This is because I cooked this batch directly after making bacon. I did not discard the fat, instead I just fried up this batch of plantains. Bacon fat gives a savory flavor that is so good! If you use ghee, the result will be a bit more buttery tasting and is especially tasty on ones you will use for fruit topping. Gives a flavor of a fruit cobbler.
- At this point you can remove the slices to a bowl of warm salted water to soak. I usually skip this step, so you can try both ways and see how you like it best. Soaking is handy if your skillet is too small to accommodate the smashed rounds all at once. Just remove one at a time from the soak and smash in tostonera. Then carefully return to the cooking fat. Water can make the fat pop. Shake off excess water to prevent splatter. Jump to Step 7 to skip the soak. This photo shows my setup with skillet, water bowl in the back with soaking slices, my garbage bowl with peels, the tostonera, tongs and cutting board. It is a rather efficient setup.
- If you skip the soak, remove the slices from the skillet one at a time and smash in the tostonera/plantain press and return to skillet for about a minute or so while you work on smashing the rest of the slices. Once all of the slices are returned to the skillet, start flipping them over beginning with the first one until they have all been flipped. They should start to crisp up on the edges. Green plantains will be crispier than black ones. So don't overcook the black ones trying to crisp them.
- Once they are golden brown and slightly crispy on the edges, remove them from the skillet to drain on a paper towel lined plate. Salt to taste. I prefer freshly ground Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. This photo shows plantains on top of fruit with yogurt and walnuts with a dash of nutmeg. Delicious for breakfast or anytime you want a dessert that is actually good for you!
- This photo shows plantains as a side on a breakfast plate. We eat this almost everyday around here. This plate is Whole30 compliant with sugar free bacon. Yum.