I experienced overexposure to plantains when I was growing up (and it was great). We grew plantains on the farm, my mom used to make us fried ripe plantains for breakfast, it was one of the first things I remember cooking on my own as a kid, snack stalls in the city and at the beach sold the best whole ripe plantains fried and stuffed with cheese. I could fill a cookbook with all the plantain recipes I know, there are so many different ways to prepare them and the taste of each dish is completely different even though the same main ingredient is used. I love dishes made with green or unripe plantains as much as I do those that are made with ripe ones. Fried ripe plantains are probably the most well know way to cook plantains and also the easiest way to cook them.
Fried ripe plantains go well as a side dish for almost any meal, especially if the meal involves rice, one of the most simple and delicious meals you can have is rice with a fried egg and fried plantains. They are great right out of the frying pan but also with cheese on top, I like to use either feta cheese, the saltiness reminds me of an Ecuadorian cheese call queso de sopa (a soft crumbly salty cheese used in soups), or grated cheese that melts easily (mozzarella, monterey jack or fontina). These are also great as appetizers.
2 ripe plantains
1 tbs canola oil or sunflower oil
Optional – Cheese – feta if you want to experience the saltiness contrast with the sweetness of the plantain or grated mozzarella, monterey jack or fontina if you prefer the yummy gooiness of melted cheese
- Wash and peel the plantains
- Slice the plantains, the best way to slice them is either diagonally or cut the plantain in half and slice lengthwise. The plantain can also be sliced lengthwise full size, but the smaller diagonal or half slices are easier to manage.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large frying pan and add the plantains
- The plantains will cook very quickly, make sure to turn them before they burn and cook until golden on each side. You can use a spatula or a fork to turn them. If the plantain flesh is still pink or white it means that it is not yet fully cooked.
- Place the cooked plantains on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
- Serve warm
If adding cheese, sprinkle the feta over the plantains and serve. If you using a grated cheese then it is best to skip step #5, once the plantains are done leave them in the frying pan and add the grated cheese on top, remove from the heat to avoid burning them and let the cheese melt.