Posted by: Rachel | March 20, 2011

yes, we have no bananas

My friend asked if I was going to throw it in the compost. Nope, I said, I’m going to have it for breakfast tomorrow. It should be just about ripe enough…

Talk about a plan-ahead meal! My local groceries carry plantains pretty much year-round, but they are rarely anywhere near ripe. They look like bananas, sort of, or perhaps like bananas’ big-shouldered rougher cousins. They sit in stacks, pretty and yellow, and I know that they won’t be ready for my eating for at least two weeks.

See, the thing about plantains is that they really must be cooked. If you like, you can cook them while they are green (ok, yellow, but I mean under-ripe) and make wonderful tostones, which are pretty much plantain chips that are twice fried like Belgian “french” fries… but that wasn’t what I had in mind.

I like my plantains sweet (of course) and they don’t develop sweetness until they are almost too nasty looking to want to cook. Once the skin turns black, though, mmmmm!!

ripe and under-ripe plantains

worth waiting for!

Wikipedia tells us that “Plantains are mostly sterile triploid hybrids between the species Musa acuminata (A genome) and Musa balbisiana (B genome).” Gosh, doesn’t that sound yummy? You’ll just have to trust me that this is good. Actually, this is excellent! The cooked plantains are almost caramelized, sweet and chewy. Oh my!

This idea can be served as part of a breakfast or brunch, an afternoon snack, or a dessert. I like to eat ’em after I’ve been out for a bike ride, or even before… you get the idea. Quick and simple, and no deep frying involved; I’m pretty sure this is (almost) good for you!

The hardest part is remembering to buy them enough ahead to let them really ripen. Figure one very ripe plantain per person, and give this a shot:

Fried Plantain

plantains almost ready to eat

a skillet-full of goodness

per person:
1 ripe plantain
1 T butter or margarine divided in half
1 T brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon – optional

Put 1/2 T butter (or margarine) in a skillet and heat until the butter is almost brown. Add peeled and sliced plantain. Lower heat and cook for perhaps 2 minutes or until the side touching the pan is just nicely browned. Flip the slices over and add the rest of the butter and the brown sugar (and cinnamon if you like). Cook two more minutes. Enjoy!

Its a little like Bananas Foster without the ice cream. Oh, of course you could serve this with ice cream, but wouldn’t that be decadent? Hmmm, on second thought… why not?! Mmmm…

I hope you can find plantains where you live. If you do try this please let us know what you think, OK? ¡Buen apetito!



  1. Wouldn’t that be ¡Buen provecho! — in any language, these are going to be fantastic. Occurs to me you *could* do this with plain old bananas, couldn’t you? Ever tried that? Maybe too mushy?

  2. Bananas are very good this way, but the texture is quite different, and they’re even sweeter so less “breakfasty” imo. Plantains are sort of denser and chewier… more structural integrity or something. I think it has to do with the starch/sugar levels but I’m not a chemist! Anyway, and either way, yummmm!

    My source actually shows “¡Buen provecho! ¡Buen apetito! ¡Que aproveche! ” as options. Guess I should just stick to Bon Appetit… go with what you know, right?

  3. You make those black fright foods sitting on your kitchen counter sound really good. Bon Appetit indeed.

    • Fright foods? I like it! (grin) And, the only sad thing is that I have to wait until tax day or so for the next batch to be ripe! Awww…

  4. It’s so strange: Now that I live in Florida I rarely see plantains in the stores. But back in Toronto? They were always there. Having said that, I’ve never bought them before and I’ve certainly have never fried them. I’ve eaten plenty of them though and have always loved them. Now, given this recipe, I’m going to be on the lookout. You can bet that when they show up, a skillet will be hitting my stove!

    • Surprising that they’re hard to find. I wouldn’t expect to see them at Morton’s, but I’d think Whole Foods or certainly Publix would have them… hmmmm. How do you prefer them prepared? Share share please!

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