As a midwesterner I didn’t have an opportunity to eat Cuban food until I started traveling to south Florida as a teenager. I quickly learned that fried sweet plantains (platanos manduros)
are an integral part of the perfect Cuban meal. In my frequent meals at Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine in Fort Lauderdale I learned from the waiters that cooking sweet plantains is as much about
the ripening process as it is about the cooking.
Plantains look a lot like bananas, but they are usually much larger. If you try eating one at this stage it would taste awful. Sweet plantains have a very slow ripening process.
After one week the plantains are still not ready to cook.
Below, after two weeks this plantain is ready is ready to peel and cook. It appears so black that it looks like it should be thrown out.
The preparation time is about ten minutes. First, cut the plantain slices very thick.
Place the slices in a frying pan. Many people fry plantains in lard, butter or vegetable oil. I have had great success cooking them in olive oil. In addition, many people roll the raw plantains in sugar or brown sugar before cooking. I don’t
do that, I try to keep these as healthy as possible.
Total cooking time is about four minutes with two minutes of cooking time on each side. Fry on medium heat until the plantains turn golden brown and caramelized and then flip over.
Place the fried plantains on a paper towel to soak up excess oil.
Plantains are a perfect sweet side dish to any meal. In the image below my meal consisted of grilled salmon, black beans and rice. They are an excellent substitute for potatoes but have more nutrients.
They are a great source of fiber and are rich in vitamins A, C, B-6 and potassium.
Serve with Cuban espresso or beer for a nearly authentic Cuban experience.
Tagged: , Sweet Plantains , recipe , Fried Sweet Plantains recipe , Plantains , Cuban Food , Black beans and rice , platanos manduros