Fried Good Stuff

It was my assumption that a recipe that contained only three steps to the cooking process would be easy to make. In fact, I have fried plantains before, and the last time I made them (a decade ago, perhaps), they just weren’t as sweet at the kind you can get a Caribbean restaurant in Tampa. Since leaving Tampa, I have not been to a single restaurant that has even had platanos on the menu. Very sad.

My craving is my friend Laura’s curse. Her mother took us to a Puerto Rican restaurant where the staff did not speak English, and the menu was entirely in Spanish. While Laura’s mom told us a story about her life as a girl in Puerto Rico, namely how they ate all the parts of the cow, and she detailed this body part by body part, we devoured rice with beef out of wooden cups, and the sweetest platanos I have ever had.

I tried once again to the make platanos yesterday. The recipe said to make sure the plantains were plenty ripe, so I gave them a week, in which time they looked no different. (Funny how their cousin the banana ripens and spoils in half that time.) After a week, I figured, they must be good and ready.

I peeled them (no easy task), chopped them, and bathed them in olive oil on the stovetop. The recipe called for ten minutes of cooking time, but even on high heat, the plantains were just sitting in their oil bath laughing at me, refusing to fry. I fried the heck out of those plantains, until Ben finally commented that they appeared to be burning. They were hard, round rocks, though — not soft, tender, juicy good stuff.

Finally, I got sick of frying and dumped the platanos on a plate.

Nobody would taste them. So the plate was mine alone.

They were not sweet. They were not soft or tender or juicy…or good stuff.

I ate a bunch of them, then put them away.

Unrelatedly, I have had stomach cramps all day today.

Maybe the plantains were not ripe enough… Or maybe it was the vanilla latte I had before the symphony last night. Something’s suspicious…

Fried platanos gone wrong.

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4 responses to “Fried Good Stuff

  1. Speaking with no knowledge whatsoever, perhaps the plaintains were actually overcooked. Also for sweetness, I would add a little sugar when nobody is looking! (I bet brown sugar or honey would be a nice touch.) πŸ™‚ Try again! πŸ™‚

    On a totally unrelated note – As I See it (listed on your blogroll) is actually “a braver gal’s eye view.”

  2. Asked a fried of mine from PR, first she said Plantains must be very black skinned! Then peel them and cut them at least an 1″ think and they usually roll them in sugar or brown sugar and they taste better fried in lard. Hope this helped.

    Love your Blog…

  3. Don’t give up! Part of the fun (aggravation) of cooking is learning through our errors. πŸ™‚

    My guess would be they weren’t ripe enough. For sweet fried plantains, they need to be super ripe, to the point of being black and soft. As plantains ripen, they get softer and sweeter. Then when cooking, you only want to fry on medium hot for a minute or two, then lower the temp to finish them off. πŸ™‚

    For a good recipe, make sure to Google for Maduros, which is what Cubans call the sweet variants.

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