Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My own Top Chef challenge: Plantains

It's a little weird that in all the years I lived in L.A. I never cooked plantains. I'm sure there must be a market somewhere in the city that sells them. I never saw them at any of my farmer's market or in my local supermarket. I can't remember if Bristol Farms had them.

Yet I've seen them in Campo dei Fiori at the vendor we call the Bulgari of Campo because while his produce is beautiful and diverse, it's very, very expensive. You can also buy them at the Piazza Vittorio market and Prati's Trionfale market.

I was at the Trionfale market this morning and picked up a few. The vendor I went to has a great selection of Caribbean, Asian and African food. Some of fruits and vegetables I have never heard of.

Plantains are extremely popular in the Caribbean. My dad used to buy then in the City and they are perfect thing to eat with jerk chicken, or beans and rice.

Super easy to make all you need are plantains (the "browner" the better/sweeter), oil and a pan.

Fry the sliced plantains in the oil on med/high heat until they get a little crispy around the edges. Put then on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.

Some people like to sprinkle brown sugar on top. I leave the sugar off for side dishes but would put some on if I'm using the dish as a dessert.


photo: foodnetwork.com

20 comments:

Simone said...

Yum perfect with some gingerbeer (saving the sorrel my friend Dee made for the blackcake ;)..I love the double fried version with garlic olive oil (tostones) and just learned to use a flatten version to make a sandwich for a once in a very long while treat...Enjoy!

Stacy said...

Yum! I've never had it as a dessert... for us its only a side dish. Interesting. And we always just put salt on top and squeeze it flat (there's actually a special tool you can buy for the purpose)-- the blacker the plantain the better in my opinion!
I saw some in those African shops near Termini Station recently (via Giolitti side) when I went to find a relaxer kit. lol, they sell everything

gibber said...

i got some really black plantains on my countertop right now! the boy bought them, so i assume he has a purpose in mind. but i love nothing more than some sweet plantains, scrambled eggs and chese for breakfast. yummy!!!

erin :: the olive notes said...

i love both the sweet way to make them and also the tostones version...we normally make both at the same time b/c we can't choose :)

Ms. Wooden Shoes said...

That's a good challenge. I might have to steal that one. Right after a tackle my own: yeast.

Stacy said...

Totally off topic but along the lines of food... do you know of a Thanksgiving dinner party or a restaurant doing a Thanksgiving meal here in Rome? Not sure how keen the Italians are about this holiday but Thanksgiving is one of my favorites (just cuz I'm greedy, lol) so if there's anything going on in the city I would love to know about it. Thanks!

GGirl2 said...

Yet again NYC, you have allowed me to live vicariously through you. I love plantains, and you are so right about when they are sweetest. Yet another thing to look forward to when I visit. Thanks

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Simone - Tostones sound so good!!

stacy - ha, yes you can find a lot in those shops.

gibber - hmmm for breakfast? I have to try that.

erin - decisions, decisions!

ms. wooden shoes - I'm with you on the yeast thing. I haven't baked since moving here.

stacy - It's not a big deal outside the US (of course) but I'm sure one of the expat clubs will be doing something. Google the English Yellow Pages or the American Club in Rome. If I hear anything will let you know.

ggirl2 - you're welcome!

Stacy said...

cool! Looks like the American Club has a lunch tonight, but hopefully I can find something for next week. Thanks! :)

gibber said...

Whaddya mean you've never had these for breakfast! Dad used to do that all the time! or maybe he started doing that only recently?

Sara said...

Ohhh, I love sweet plantains! Love 'em. When my mom used to make them, I could barely wait for them to cool down before I was popping one in my mouth. I've burned my tongue more times than I care to admit because I was impatient and greedy.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

stacy - you're welcome.

gibber - Really don't remember that. His omelets? Yes, so maybe this starting happening after I left for school.

sara - that happened to me earlier this week. They smelled so good I had to eat one right away. I've learned my lesson. ha

glamah16 said...

Plantains have to me one of my favorite foods. Have to control myself with them . So good!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

glamah16 - they are addictive! I had some over the weekend.

Kataroma said...

Yum I must pick some up next time I'm at Piazza Vittorio markets. I've only had them in restaurants and assumed that they'd be hard to cook. But i guess not.

I wonder if my picky toddler would go for them. Bananas are one of the few foods she eats and she loves fried things...

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

kataroma - I'm sure there are super complicated things you can do with them, but the simple way is so tasty.

Your toddler might loves these. Banana + fried = delicious.

milanese masala said...

I always mean to comment on your blog but now we can't access certain sites from work so I can only do it from home. Boo!! Anyway, plantains are even a staple in Southern Indian cooking but I hated them when I was little. My parents would steam them in the microwave and we'd eat them for breakfast. I felt like gagging every time! But I LOOOOVE sliced fried plaintains with a bit of salt. My daughter really likes them too. Better than Rustica chips!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

milanese - microwaved plantains? I can see you did not like them. I don't like them boiled either. Fried is the way to go. ha

Gina said...

Oh man you just made my day with this piece of info! No doubt about it I will be frying up a storm of platanos this weekend. I've been here for 9 months now, just yearning for a small taste of some of The Barrios cuchifritto deliciousnous. I even asked my mom to fly some plantains over because I could not find any in rome, crazy but true. See you at the market!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

gina - yes you can find them at several markets in Rome.

Campo is a little pricey but several vendor at Trionfale in Prati and Pz. Vittori markets sell them. Enjoy!