What Do I Do With This? Plantains

Is it a fruit or a vegetable? Let's slice it down the middle and go with frechtable (This is actual taxonomic terminology here. We don't make stuff like this up.)  Plantains are a staple food in the tropical regions of the world, and frankly we Philadelphians should really give this fretchtable some justice. Plantains are treated in much the same way as potatoes and with a similar neutral flavour and texture when the unripe fruit is cooked by steaming, boiling or frying. Weavers Way Mt. Airy Produce Manager Jean MacKenzie has curated three delicious recipes for this confounding banana-vegetable.

Easy Bake Plaintains

For a simple and delicious side dish, bake plantains just like you would a potato! Choose brown to black-ripe plantains for full flavor and softness. Rinse and dry them, usually figuring on one medium-sized fruit per person. Trim off tips. Cut a lengthwise slit in each fruit. Set slit-side up in a foil-lined pan and bake at 375 degrees until tender, about 40 minutes. When they are baked, serve whole, or separate in lengthwise strips along the natural seed divisions, or slice crosswise in rounds or diagonals. Serve with your favorite topping- butter, spices, lime juice, pan dripppings or gravy, pineapple and brown sugar.

Spicy Fried Plantains

Looking for a kick? Experiment with spices from our bulk department to give these babies your own twist!

4 large plantains, peeled

2 Tb fresh ginger root, grated

1 Tb ground clove

½ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

¼ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

2 Tb warm water

Vegetable oil for frying

Cut plantains into diagonal slices about ½ inch thick. In a bowl, combine ginger, clove, cayenne, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in water to form a paste. Add plantain slices to coat well. Let stand 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Pour enough oil into a large skillet to reach ½ inch up the sides. Heat oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. In batches, fry plantain slices, turning once, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fried plantains to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while frying remaining plantains. Serve warm.


Plaintain Chips

Forget the potato chips… This is another easy snack that will surprise and delight!

Peel green plantains. Cut diagonally into very thin slices. Let stand in ice water for ½ hour. Drain, pat dry. Fry in deep hot oil at 370 degrees until lightly browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

Serve as a garnish with fruit salad or as an appetizer.

Got fretchtable questions? Contact Jean and she'll help you out!