Last winter I shared a recipe for how I make fried plantains for dessert. However, here in Costa Rica I’ve been eating plantains cooked in more traditional ways. At Tortuguero there is a cook and plantains are often served thinly sliced on the diagonal and fried, and they can be served for any meal of the day. Here at Madre Selva we are cooking for ourselves from a rather limited pantry of ingredients. (Next time I’ll have a grocery list for my boss, who stocks the kitchen at some point before we arrive.) Anyway, the girl who is banding with me for my three days up here this time, Sara, is Costa Rican, and she prepared plantains as patacones to accompany our rice and beans for lunch. Actually, we have come to the conclusion that what we had here were really were green bananas and not plantains, but they worked pretty much the same, they are just a bit sweeter. (According to Wikipedia, in Puerto Rico and northern Columbia it is normal to make patacones out of green bananas, but it also says that here in Costa Rica patacones are called tostones, which Sara disagrees with.)
one green plantain (or large green banana if you can’t find a plantain)
vegetable oil for frying
Cut the plantain into 2-cm slices. Heat some oil in a frying pan. When it is hot, add the plantain pieces, round side down, and fry until browned. Turn them over and fry the other side. Remove from heat. One at a time, place a slice on a plate and flatten it with another plate. Once all are flattened, return to the frying pan and fry again on both sides until golden and crisp. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
So really, they are still just fried plantains (fried twice!) but they look like pretty little flowers. And they taste good. They remind me a bit of fried parsnip.
Speaking of bananas…
(Taken through a grimy window, while the bus was moving.)
The blue bags protect the bananas. I’ve also seen wild pink bananas (bright fuchsia pink) but apparently they aren’t edible.