Saturday, February 09, 2008

Breakfast plantains

This morning I made plantains for breakfast. When using fresh plantains, you basically have a choice of green or ripe. "Green" plantains don't always have green skin; in fact, they are usually yellow like a banana. But don't think you can just peel and eat one, because it will taste horrible and probably make you sick (sort of like eating a raw potato, I imagine). The green ones are used in things like patacones, and the ripe ones are what I used this morning. Though they look like they're ready to feed to the iguanas or throw in the compost heap, ripe plantains are black on the outside but perfectly sweet on the inside. I remember when I was living in California you could only get the green ones, so we would just buy those and let them sit for a few days or a week until they went black.

To make a very simple breakfast plantain, use a ripe one (or more) whose skin has turned black. Peel, and slice (you can do rounds or lengthwise or somewhere in-between). Heat up a skillet (I use cast iron) with a little oil and margarine (maybe 1 tbsp. each). Put the slices in when the oil is hot, and sprinke with a little raw or brown sugar, cinnamon and black pepper (or sometimes I use Chinese five-spice powder -- yummy!). When they're browned on one side, turn and repeat with the sprinklings. Take them out when browned and enjoy! Very simple, and if you're living in Costa Rica, very, very cheap. These are great to serve with gallo pinto and fresh tortillas.

Another traditional way to make ripe plantains is to cut them in half lengthwise, then top with shredded cheese and bake in the oven until the plantains are cooked and the cheese is melted (oil the pan, of course, so they don't stick). Costa Ricans usually use their typical cheese (I think it's called Turrialba, though any semi-dry cheese without a strong flavor should work fine). Sometimes they make a plantain "sandwich" with the cheese in the middle and the other plantain half on top. These were delicious back when I ate cheese!

1 comment:

  1. Another way to make the plantain is as in option 2- and add milk; it is called "Maduro en Gloria".

    About getting the ripe ones in California... well... if you shop at the local Mexican grocery (for me it is Pepe's, in San Diego... Don;t try to find it...That Grocery is the size of my living room; but carry almost everything a Mexican needs...)