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…