One of the things I like most about plantains (also known as platanos, tostones or patacones) is that you can enjoy them through multiple stages of ripeness. When they are fully green, they have a higher starch content, which makes them ideal for frying — and subsequently makes some killer latkes. (Try these delicious plantain latke recipe from my blog, as well as this one on The Nosher). You can also turn the green plantains into fries or chips.
When they start to turn yellow, plantains become easier to peel, and sweeter. You can mash them up like you would potatoes when you crave something a little different. At this stage, you can also roast them alongside your root vegetables.
When plantains are yellow and have black markings, they are fully ripe and taste like a regular banana that has been caramelized with a hint of maple syrup. At this stage, they are delicious when fried, because they are softer and melt in your mouth. They can be wrapped in lamb or beef bacon for that sweet and salty effect or eaten straight up at the kitchen counter, while the rest are frying. Not that I would ever do this of course.
Here, I decided to combine my Jewish and Latina heritages – as I often do – and make a Latin-infused kugel. This recipe makes a good portion for 6-8 people as a side dish, but if you want to double the recipe you can easily do so, just use a 9×13 pan instead of an 8- or 9-inch round pan. Feel free to mix up your favorite spices and herbs, as plantains really can take on many flavors.
- 6 plantains, yellowish-green, shredded on the large holes of a box grater (or food processor)
- 4 eggs
- 1 red pepper, peeled and minced
- 1 onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater or food processor
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- Approximately 5 turns of freshly cracked black pepper (or to taste)
- ⅛ tsp of ground coriander
- ¾ cup olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- In a large bowl, mix your eggs, onion, garlic and seasoning, and fold in the shredded plantains. Allow to sit in fridge while you heat your olive oil.
- In round cast-iron pan (or round pie plate, but use a sheet pan underneath when putting in the oven) heat your olive oil in the oven until it bubbles around the back of a wooden spoon.
- Once the oil is heated, gently add your plantain mixture to the prepared pan. Spread evenly, and then place into the oven on the upper rack. (Use a sheet pan underneath if using a thinner metal or glass pan)
- After the edges begin to brown (about 25-30 minutes) lower the temperature to 300 F and cook until golden and crispy on top, around 10-15 minutes. You can rewarm later in a 200 F oven, if necessary.