PLATANO VERDE (GREEN STAGE)
Platanitos (Plantain Chips)
Watch a video on making plantain chips
Also known as “galleticas de platano verde” and “mariquitas de platano,” platanitos have become a popular snack treat in America, rivaling potato chips and tortilla chips. As tasty as the store bought ones are, they are not nearly as good as homemade ones.
Yield: A big basket of chips (snacks for about 12)
- 4 large green plantains
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- salt or garlic salt
- Peel the plantains
- Using a box grater, mandolin-type slicer or food processor fitted with a slicing blade; slice the plantain into dozens of very thin round slices and set aside.
- In a deep fryer or in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 4 inches of oil to 350° or until a plantain slice sizzles when it hits the oil.
- Fry in small batches; drop the plantain slices into the oil and cook for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
- Remove the chips from oil with a slotted spoon or frying basket and drain on paper toweling and sprinkle with salt.
Serve with a favorite salsa or all by themselves.
For a healthier version of platanitos, place the sliced plantain rounds in a large plastic bag and toss them with 1 tablespoon olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt or garlic salt. Spread the rounds in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet and bake in a 400° oven for 10 minutes or until crisp. Watch them carefully and turn frequently to ensure they don’t burn.
Sopa de Platano (Plantain Soup)
Watch a video on making plantain soupServes: 8
- 6 cups beef stock
- 4 green plantains (peeled & cut into chunks)
- 2 medium potatoes (pared & quartered)
- 1 large onion (peeled & quartered)
- 1 large green pepper (cored, seeded & quartered)
- 6 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon powdered cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried leaf oregano (crushed)
- In a large deep pot, combine all ingredients, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. (You can substitute 2 tablespoons of our Mezcla de Especias – page xx for the dry spices in this recipe, if you wish).
- Reduce heat to low and continue to cook slowly for another 30 minutes or until all of the vegetables are soft and tender.
- Remove from heat.
- Ladle the cooked vegetables and broth into the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth.
- Pour the soup into serving bowls and garnish with a tostone.
Tostones (Twice-Fried Green Plantains)
Tostones are delicious. A wonderful appetizer; they also make a great side dish to accompany any meal. Tostones are fried twice for extra crispness. Even though they are deep fried, perfect tostones will be dry to the taste almost like a cracker. The secrets to making good tostones are to use the greenest plantains you can find and to make sure the oil you use is clean and hot. This way they absorb very little of the oil and the delicate flavor of the plantain is enhanced.
Yield: about 2 dozen tostones
- 3 large green plantains
- vegetable oil for frying
- salt or garlic salt
- Remove peels from the plantains.
- Cut each plantain into about eight 1½-inch thick slices.
- In a deep fryer or in a deep heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil to 350°, or until a plantain sizzles when it hits the oil.
- Carefully drop a small batch of the plantain rounds (6-8 pieces) into the oil and fry about 2 minutes.
- Drain on paper towels.
- While the plantains are still warm, place them one at a time between a couple thicknesses of heavy paper, (a lunch-size brown paper bag is ideal), and flatten them gently but firmly with the heel of your hand until they are about a half inch thick.
- Return the tostones to the hot oil and fry them a second time for 2 minutes more or until they are golden and crispy.
- Drain them again on paper towels, sprinkle with salt and serve.
Tostones are best right out of the pan, but if you must, you can set them aside until serving time and reheat them for about 5 minutes in a warm oven. Our mojo criollo — » Recipe and Video — makes a wonderful dipping sauce for tostones.
HELPFUL HINT — Getting the peel off of a really green fresh plantain can be a difficult and time consuming task, especially if you’ve never attempted it before. First, fill your sink or a large bowl with a few inches of very hot water. Next, cut both ends off of a plantain, and make 3 or 4 lengthwise slashes through the plantain’s skin with a sharp knife careful to cut through the peel, but not into the plantain itself. Then drop it into the hot water and allow it to soak for a minute. Repeat with each plantain. Now, remove a plantain from the water, and begin removing the peel by inserting your thumb into one of the scored areas and lifting the peel — they will come off easily.
Note: Peeling plantains can stain your fingers. To avoid staining your fingers, wear a plastic glove or remove the peel under water.
SHORTCUT — Making tostones from scratch requires time and a little planning. That’s why I like to keep some partially prepared tostones on hand in the freezer so I can prepare them in a hurry. I’ve had very good luck freezing tostones at home. Peel and prepare the tostones as above, fry them once, mash them and let them cool. Then spread them on a pan in layers separated by wax paper and put them in the freezer. When the tostones are firm, you can put them in a plastic freezer bag and store them for months. Then, when you want some tostones, take out only as many as you need and finish them by resuming preparation at step 7 above.
VARIATION — Copas de Tostones (Fried Plantain Cups) — For a very special appetizer, shape tostones into cups and fill them with a bit of meat or seafood . Your guests will all want to know how you made them. Plantains are pared as above and fried once, but instead of pressing the plantain flat, it’s shaped into a cup. Specially designed tostoneras that make this job easy are available at Hispanic specialty food stores or on the web. Before these were widely available, I made these cups by placing the fried plantain piece into a small demitasse cup and then pressing the bottom of a shot glass into it.
PLATANO PINTON (SEMI-RIPE STAGE)
Fufu de Platano Pinton (Mashed Semi-ripe Plantains)
Watch a video on making mashed plantains
Fufu, also known as mofongo, is a delicious accompaniment to any hearty meat or fish dish.
- 3 large semi-ripe plantains (peeled and cut into chunks)
- 1 quart water
- 6 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 1teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Black pepper
- 1 recipe mojo criollo
» Recipe and Video
- In a large, deep pot combine the plantains, water, garlic and spices and bring to a boil over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and continue to cook slowly for another 30 minutes or until plantains are soft.
- Remove from heat and drain the water.
- With a potato masher, coarsely mash the plantain mixture
- Drizzle one half of the mojo criollo over the mashed plantains and stir to mix.
- Reserve the remaining mojo criollo and serve in a sauce boat alongside the fufu.
PLATANO MADURO (RIPE STAGE)
Platanos Maduros Frito (Fried Sweet Plantains)
- 4 large ripe plantains
- vegetable oil for frying
- Peel the plantains and slice each diagonally into about a dozen ¾" wide slices.
- In a deep fryer or a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil to 350° or until a plantain slice sizzles when it hits the oil.
- Carefully drop a small batch of the plantain slices (6-8 pieces) and fry about 2 minutes on each side or until plantain is soft and dark golden brown.
- Drain on a paper-towel lined platter.
- Serve immediately, or spread the plantains on a cookie sheet and keep them in a warm oven (about 200°) until ready to serve.
Oven roasted sweet plantains — At step 2, place the plantain slices in a large plastic bag and toss them with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread the plantains in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet and bake in a 350° oven for 15 minutes or until tender and brown, turning about halfway through cooking time.
HELPFUL HINT: If you should find that your plantains are not quite ripe enough when you want to make them, you can improve their flavor by adding a little sugar. Peel and slice the plantains as above, then transfer them to a medium-size bowl. Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar, mix thoroughly and set them aside until you are ready to fry or bake them.
Tortilla de Platano Maduros y Papas (Ripe Plantain and Potato Omelet)
Watch a video on making a plantain and potato omelet
This tortilla is great for a special breakfast or brunch, but we also enjoy a small slice of it as an appetizer any time of day, hot or cold.
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 large ripe plantain
- 2 medium potatoes (peeled & cut into French fries)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ¼ cup chopped green pepper
- 6 large eggs (beaten)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- In a deep fryer or in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil to 350° or until a plantain slice sizzles when it hits the oil.
- Prepare and fry the sweet plantain as described above, drain on paper toweling and set aside.
- Fry the potatoes in a couple of batches to keep the oil hot. Sprinkle with salt and Drain on paper toweling and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, then add the onion and green pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent and soft.
- Add the plantains and potatoes and spread throughout the pan, then add the eggs and stir to ensure that all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Reduce heat to low and continue cooking very slowly for several minutes until the egg mixture sets up and is firm.
- Place a tight-fitting lid over the frying pan, remove the pan from the heat and invert the omelet onto the lid. Then gently slide the omelet back into the pan and return it to the heat for a few minutes to cook the other side.
- When the tortilla is firm and done, place the platter on which the tortilla is to be served over the pan, and invert as before.
- Garnish the platter if desired, cut into wedges and serve
For a lighter version — substitute oven roasted potatoes, oven roasted sweet plantains and egg beaters. Dice the cooked potatoes & plantains and sauté them in the sofrito for a few minutes before adding the eggs. ¡Delicioso!
Bolitas de Platano (Little Plantain Balls)
Everyone loves these sweet and salty savory treats. They’re great for a party!
Yield: about 25 small plantain balls
- 6 large ripe plantains (unpeeled & cut in 3" chunks)
- 1 quart water
- 1 recipe Picadillo
- 1 cup bread crumbs*
- vegetable oil for frying
- In a large cook pot, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Add the plantains and cook for 30 minutes or until plantains are soft.
- Remove from the heat, drain, peel and thoroughly mash the plantains until mixture is smooth and there are no lumps. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Using a small scoop or tablespoon, scoop up a small amount of the mashed plantain mixture and shape it into a 2" round ball by rolling it between your palms.
- Hold the plantain ball in one hand, then with the index finger of your other hand poke a hole in the ball and make a cave or pocket in the ball for the filling.
- Place a small amount (1 teaspoon or less) of the picadillo into the cavity created, then repair the plantain ball by sealing up the hole and re-rounding the ball in your palms.
- Repeat steps 4 through 6 until all balls are complete.
- Pour the breadcrumbs into a shallow pan, and roll the plantain balls into the bread crumbs until they are evenly coated.
- In a deep fryer or in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil to 350° or until a plantain ball sizzles when it hits the oil.
- Drop the plantain balls into the hot oil, a few at a time (6-8) and cook until they are golden brown (3 - 4 minutes).
- Carefully remove the plantain balls from the oil and drain on paper toweling.
- Serve immediately or spread them on a cookie sheet and keep them warm in a 200° oven until ready to serve.
* I really like the new panko-style breadcrumbs for my bolitas de platano. While not traditional, they are crispier, do not burn as easily and fry up more beautifully than old-fashioned breadcrumbs.
PLATANO NEGRA (VERY RIPE STAGE)
Platanos en Tentacion (Temptation Plantains – Baked Sweet Plantains)
This is a wonderfully flavorful and rich dessert. Serve it all by itself, or enjoy it with a scoop of frozen yogurt or ice cream.
- 4 large very ripe plantains (peeled & cut into ½" slices)
- 2 tablespoons butter (chopped into bits)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup toasted slivered almonds (optional)
- In a large bowl combine all ingredients and toss them together just until mixed.
- Prepare a 9''x13'' baking dish or equivalent by spraying it with a non-stick cooking spray.
- Press the plantain mixture into the pan.
- Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until plantains are golden brown and soft.
- Serve tentacion in a custard cup warm with a dollop of whipped cream or use tentacion as a topping over a scoop of frozen yogurt or ice cream.
Pudin de Pan con Platanos (Plantain Bread Pudding)
Watch a video on making Plantain Bread Pudding
This decadently delicious dessert was invented when we found ourselves with a big batch of day old bread at Mucho Gusto. You’re gonna love this — it’s rich, but a small piece is very satisfying.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 large very ripe plantains (peeled & cut into ½'' slices)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 loaf day old bread (thinly sliced)
- 1can condensed milk
- 2 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350°, and prepare a 9''x13'' baking dish or equivalent by treating it with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a skillet over low heat melt the butter, add the plantains, sugar and spices and slowly cook for about 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl whisk together the milk and eggs.
- Arrange a layer of bread slices on the bottom of the pan, then add a layer of plantain slices.
- Pour one half of the egg mixture over the top.
- Repeat layers of bread and plantain and pour the remaining egg mixture over the top.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cut into small pieces and serve drizzled with salsa de ron.
Significantly reduce the fat content of this dish by reducing butter to 1 tablespoon and by substituting nonfat condensed milk and eggbeaters.
VARIATION: Pudin de Pan con Coco (Coconut Bread Pudding) — In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, grind the bread into crumbs. Substitute one can of coconut cream for the plantains and 1/2 cup of flaked coconut for the dry spices. Instead of layering, combine all ingredients and spread batter into pan.