21 August 2007


Sweet Plantains
My mother is visiting with my sister in Connecticut. They found this lovely little wholesale market that's open on Saturdays, where they can get quite a lot of produce for very reasonable prices. It's funny, because my mother was originally bitterly complaining that she was spending a fortune on food up there, and that she didn't know what she was going to do without getting stuff for reasonable prices. What's so funny about that?

Regardless of where in the world our life has taken us, my mother has consistently found food to be an easy thing to come by. She'll stay there for a short time, and suddenly find all the places where the stuff is the cheapest, and most plentiful. I'm not talking about a few sales here and there; I'm talking about my mother going into a new place, and almost hearing the places where food is least costly call out to her. "Eat me! Please, eat me!" So, she finds the nearest person to go with her, and returns with a bounty to make the Queen's table blush with shame!

I don't speak of exceptions to the rule. With my mother, this is the rule. Without fail. Every single time. In fact, the more she gives away at random, the more stuff comes in. She had taken to feeding their neighbours with the stuff they found on sale, and suddenly, along comes the wholesale marketplace. She was in heaven!

But we digress, don't we? You want to know about the plantains, and I promise not to keep you waiting any longer. You have a couple of options for this dish. If you prefer not to use nonstick cooking spray, feel free to rub the plantains with (neutral flavoured) oil on both sides. It will probably come out even better! If you'd prefer not to use fat at all, please rub on a tiny bit of molasses onto the plantains. We're looking to get some colour on them!

5 large, ripe plantains, peeled, and halved lengthwise
non stick cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 350°F

On a baking sheet, lay down a sheet of parchment (not wax!) paper, or foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Lay down your plantain halves, face down (so that the flat side sits atop the sheet). Spray a bit of cooking spray onto the back side of the plantains.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or so. In the last fifteen minutes of cooking, check on your plantains to ensure that they aren't burning. Check them again every five minutes or so, until they are browned to your liking.

If you'd like them even more brown, set them under a high broiler for about a minute at a time, until they're browned to your liking.

Delicious all by itself, or served with a tiny squeeze of lemon juice.


  1. I miss plaintains so very much, I lived in Costa Rica for a summer and literally have had them in every possible preparation (including soup, which was made in a veggie broth with ginormous hunks of yuca, plantain, carrots, potatoes, etc. and a LOT of wild cilantro. I wasn't a fan of the soup, boiled plantains are NOT my favorite thing). Fried plantains cannot be beat. Platanos and yuca are things that I miss very, very much. (grocery stores here, in Ohio, carry the former, but it really bad quality, espcially if you've been spoiled by having trees in the backyard)
    (ticacora from the VF forums)

  2. Demon! You had them in your back yard! I'm so jealous! I absolutely adore plantains, especially when they're in savoury dishes, and lend their dark, heavy texture to a soup or stew, or as patacones (tostones), or in a curry, or however! They're sooo good.