Have you tried plantains? Although they appear to look like bananas, you treat them differently. Bananas are mostly eaten raw, and plantains are generally cooked, fried or baked. This recipe is for very ripe, sweetened (blackened) plantains. The blacker/darker or ripe the plantain, the more suitable it is for sweet desserts.
You would likely avoid black bananas at the grocery store, but not so with plantains destined for a dessert dish. Typically you’ll find and purchase them green and let them ripen at home. However, I’ve seen ripe plantains for sale at the store, you don’t need to be afraid to purchase them even though they have black spots forming on them. In other words, don’t allow how you buy bananas to affect how you buy plantains. You can cook with green ones too, however, green plantains call for different recipes that treat them more like a potato. In tropical climates the green plantain is basically used as a starch staple (like rice, potatoes, millet, cassava, pasta etc.) They are tasty served Cuban style with rice and black beans or seasoned with garlic Puerto Rican style.
You’ll notice that peeling a plantain is not as easy as a banana. Some even tend to act a bit “woody”. I tend to score the peel and force a small incision on it before trying to undress it for cooking. As the plantain ripens, the color of the fruit changes too. You’ll find that the fruit is colored differently than a banana. As the fruit ripens and the skin blackens, the fruit inside will turn a golden yellow and generally tends to stay more firm than its cousin.
This dessert recipe serves 2 and can be doubled to serve guests. We hope you enjoy it!
Ingredients: 2 whole very ripe, blackened plantains, 2 T butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, fresh sprigs of chocolate mint (optional).
- Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves together well.
- Melt the butter over high heat in a medium skillet. Arrange the plantains in the skillet and sauté for about 30 seconds. Flip and sauté for another 30 seconds.
- Add the brown sugar mix to the pan, sprinkling over all the plantains. Stir well to distribute sugar evenly on the plantains. Stir occasionally, flipping the plantain slices over from time to time.
- Continue sautéeing for about 5 minutes until the sugar caramelizes and the plantains get a nice dark coating of the mix.
- Serve with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream or vanilla frozen yogurt.
- Garnish with a fresh sprig of chocolate mint.