Two different ways to cook up a fiber packed fruit called plantains - similar to the banana - Baked Sweet Plaintains or fried.
>4 very ripe plantains (black)
>1 cup 1 percent low-fat milk
>1/2 cup brown sugar
>4 tablespoons butter
Peel plantains, place them in a baking dish and pour the milk and sugar over them. Spread one tablespoon of butter over the top of each plantain. Bake at 400 for about 1/2 hour.
Microwave Method: Cut off the ends of the unpeeled plantains and place them on a microwave-safe plate. Place a moist paper towel over them and microwave on high for about 8 minutes or until the skin opens up. Let cool and then peel. Place them in a microwave-safe baking dish and pour the milk and sugar over them. Spread one tablespoon of butter over the top of each plantain. Microwave on high for about 12 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with the butter. In a small bowl, beat together egg, egg whites, sugar and extracts. Stir into bread mixture. Gently fold almonds and raisins, if using, into bread mixture.
These can be served as a healthier dessert with a dollop of whipped cream or frozen yogurt; or, if desired, as a side dish (like candied yams).
Recipe makes 4 servings.
Fried Sweet Plantains (Platanos Maduros)
3 to 4 very ripe plantains
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
Cut ends from plantains and peel fruit. Diagonally cut plantains into 1/2-inch thick slices.
In large non-stick skillet, heat 1/3-cup oil over moderately high heat until hot, but not smoking. Saute plantains in batches, without crowding, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes on each side (or longer if you prefer caramelized consistency), adding more oil to skillet as necessary.
With spatula transfer plantains as sauteed to paper towels to drain and season with salt if desired. Recipe makes 4 to 6 servings. This is also good as a side dish.
Classified as a fruit, but mostly served as a vegetable side dish. Cooked green, plantains have a starchy taste with no banana overtones. Cooked ripe, they have a sweet banana taste with a cheesy, gummy texture. Select firm; do not refrigerate until ripe. To peel plantains, cut off ends. Cut slit lengthwise through inner curve of skin. Cut crosswise into one-half inch rounds and, beginning at slit, pry off skin.
Plantain Uses: When green, bake, slice, fry or add to soups and stews. When more yellow, bake or saute and add brown sugar, cinnamon or dash of lemon juice.
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