That’s Bananas: Plantains Offer A Fried-Fruit Alternative
Deliciously seasoned and satisfyingly crunchy, potato chips may be the quintessential snack food. However, those who are interested in a culinary arts program should explore the exciting alternatives to this classic. One way to capture the fun of chips while exploring flavorful new possibilities is by preparing fried plantains.
Starchier and less sugary than the dessert bananas that are commonly eaten raw, plantains make a delicious appetizer or snack when cooked. Fried plantains have long been a favorite in the Caribbean, and they can be perfectly paired with a wide range of dishes. Follow these tips to make your own batch of addictively crispy chips.
1. Check the ripeness
When you’re planning to make fried plantains, it’s vital to choose your fruit with care. The plantains’ degree of ripeness is one of the most important factors in ensuring the final product has the taste you’re after. Green, unripe plantains are commonly fried and served as chips in some cuisines, but look for ripened fruit if you prefer to achieve sweeter results.
When the fruit is still firm, but has black patches appearing on the yellow skin, that level of ripeness brings out the sugars in the plantain. As a result, the fruit will caramelize and take on a brownish color when you fry it. Try cooking with both ripe and unripened plantains to discover all the differences in flavor.
2. Use a nonstick pan
Though you can use a deep fryer if you have access to one, a large, nonstick skillet will also serve well for frying plantains. As The Spruce pointed out, the nonstick coating is essential for cooking the ripened fruits. Otherwise, the fast-burning sugar is likely to adhere to the bottom of the pan.
Coat the skillet with a neutral oil, like vegetable or canola oil. Keep in mind that larger quantities of oil may leave you with overly soggy plantains. A light drizzle along the bottom of the pan should be sufficient to get the job done.
3. Cook in batches
To achieve perfectly fried plantains, work in batches, carefully watching as they cook. Start by setting the stove to medium heat, waiting for the oil to shimmer. Then, start cooking the plantain slices in batches of 12 to 15.
It should take two to three minutes to cook the plantains, flipping after about a minute and a half. If the slices are cooking too quickly, lower the heat to avoid burning them. As the plantains finish, use a slotted spoon to move them onto paper towels. Add a light seasoning of sea salt and serve immediately.
If you’ve had enough of frying potatoes, plantains are the perfect appetizer, snack or side dish to bring something new to your repertoire. Culinary academy students should try making their own for a salty, sweet and crunchy addition to their meals.