My roommate in college was Dominican, so I got introduced to all sorts of amazing eats, like plantains 3 ways, yucca 2 ways, beans every way, and ripe avocados smuggled back from the Dominican Republic. God I hope I don’t get anyone in trouble for saying that, but what tastes better than smuggled?
We did a lot of frying back then. Fried yucca chips, garlicky fried green plantain cups, and of course fried yellow plantain slices, with crispy edges and gooey sweet centers. Neither of us gained the freshman 15, so what the heck, we fried it up! Today, however, I’ve taken my beloved yellow plantains and grilled them, but not before dunking them in a cup of melted coconut oil. Coconut oil is healthy though, so slather that stuff on. Seriously, my good cholesterol is off the charts.
Sadly, I don’t have an outdoor grill. These would be amazing on that. A grill pan works in the meantime. They still get these plantain slices bright yellow and caramelicious. If you’ve never had a plantain before, they’re a heartier version of the wimpy banana. You cannot eat them raw! But they stand up well to heat and frying. Make sure your plantains are extra ripe. The outside peel should have plenty of black spots. When shopping, look for the ones on the far left in this picture I found for you on the interwebs.
You can eat these grilled slices plain (they’re pretty irresistible straight off the pan), dip them in guacamole, or eat them alongside rice and beans. Or you can do as I did for breakfast: top with a sunny egg, chopped avocado, and tiny tomaters. I like to eat ALL THE COLORS.
You have to craft the perfect bite on your fork: one plantain slice, one avocado cube, half a grape or cherry tomato, and a little wedge of fried egg. It’s like sushi. You gotta put all 4 things in your mouth at once.
I go to drugstores a lot, not for the drugs, but for all the food magazines. Today there was a page in Food & Wine quoting Chef Mark Liberman. He said “Many young cooks just throw food in a bag to cook it sous vide all the time, but there’s so little actual cooking involved. Grilling is ancient and intuitive.” I couldn’t agree more. I love cooking things unevenly, with both charry bits and soft bits, to that crispy golden point just before it burns, inevitably lighting my marshmallows on fire
Inspired by all those breakfast nachos floating around the interwebs, this is sort of like a Caribbean version.
- Cut off both ends of the plantain, then vertically slice through the peel. Using this seam, peel the plantain. Slice the plantain into 1/3 inch thick slices on the bias.
- If your coconut oil is solid, warm it until it's liquid.
- Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Coat each plantain slice in coconut oil and lay it on the grill pan, trying not to overlap. Cook each side for a few minutes or until browned to your liking. Use tongs to flip the slices.
- Serve with chopped avocado and tomato. Add an egg or two if serving for breakfast.