Fried Plantains (Platanos)

First thing to do is look at the differences in ripening stages or maturity.

Green - Called verdes
Brown/Black - Called maduros (mature)

The green 'stage' is used in making tostones. When traveling in Honduras, you will see all stages of ripeness served. Whatever is in the kitchen gets presented to you. When we were traveling on Roatan, I saw kids walking around eating whole verdes that had been boiled.

This recipe calls for using the black, or ripened plantain. They are the sweetest stage as the sugars form within the fruit. But how do you pick out a good, ripe plantain? Easy.

You will be fine as long as the plantain isn't past its prime. Don't buy it if the skin is starting to dry, if it is hard, or squishy. If all the plantains are green, buy some and ripen them in a brown paper bag on your countertop. 5-6 days will do it. Don't worry, you will get the hang of it.

One plantains serves two people.

▪ Cut the banana in half. (Don't peel yet).
▪ Cut each 1/2 lengthwise. You now have quartered the plantain into four equal, narrow, relatively flat pieces.
▪ Now peel the plantain, more by pulling it off with your knife than peeling per se.

▪ Heat 1/4" corn or soybean oil in a pan (I like olive oil in the kitchen but you can't take the temperature too high)
▪ Put the plantain in the oil when the oil has reached a medium-high temperature. If oil smokes, turn it down.
▪ Turn the plantain when the natural sugars in the fruit begin to carmelize (just starting to turn brown) - about 6 minutes
▪ Fry the other side - about 5 minutes
▪ Place fried plantains on paper towels to remove extra oil
▪ Serve. Voilá - you are a Honduran.

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