Friday, July 9, 2010
First think you need to do is pick a plantain, for maduros you want a super black plantain. You should go eewww when you see it...yes that black. I'm sure you've walked by them in the grocery store and wondered who in their right mind would pay for something that looked so bad. Well, I do... and you will because maduros are delicious.
Bare in mind that although you want a super ripe, black plantain (this is what makes them sweet) you don't one that looks like death either. There should still be bits of yellow coming through the blackened skin, and the fruit should still be firm when you squeeze lightly.
Peel your plantain by cutting off the two ends, then scoring the middle of it, careful to not penetrate, mush, or otherwise damage the flesh.
Now cut your plantain into slices, diagonally. They should be about half and inch to an inch thick. Don't cut them too thick because the center won't cook through, or too thin because then they will burn. It really is a Goldilocks game, these slices have to be just right!
Fry these slices in a frying pan that has a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil. Not olive oil, not PAM, not elbow grease, but vegetable oil. This is one time where I do not endorse a substituion because it will change the flavor of the final product. Of course, make sure your oil is super hot before you put them in, otherwise you'll end up with a greasy mess.
Its time to flip once the edges start to brown and things start smelling sweet. Be careful to not burn them, which will be easy as all the sugars begin to caramelize. If your oil was hot, it should take roughly 1-3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your cut.
In Puerto Rico and in Puerto Rican households, maduros are usually served with arroz con gandules and chicken or pernil (roasted pork shoulder), and sometimes even with eggs at breakfast! I think they're something that can make a nice, light, and sweet side dish in a sea of savory so I plan to incorporate them into our regular dinner menus. Plus, these yummy disks can double as a dessert (maduros and vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce anyone?).
Go ahead, try it, its okay. I promise what you walk past aren't bad bananas, they are flavorful, sweet, packages of goodness. Plus, you can wow you friends family with a new ethnic food without buying a million ingredients!
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