What makes the gap in time even more unbelievable is how EASY these are to make. Thanks to my friend Doug, who taught me how to make these years ago. He has Dominican roots - and boy, can that man cook!
Here's how easy it is. Peel a plantain by cutting the top off and slicing down the sides to peel back. While it looks just like a banana, the skin is a lot tougher.
Next, cut into slices about half an inch thick. Drop into hot vegetable oil (I use a pot shaped like a wok and only use enough oil to half submerge - not a fan of deep frying!)
Cook about 2 minutes and then flip and cook for another 2. Remove and place in single layer on paper towel. Sprinkle one side with salt.
Using the bottom of a glass press down on one side of the plantain to flatten. They should squish down and spread. Don't be afraid of salt here - as much of it will come off in the next step...
You want to make about one plantain for every two people if you're serving as a side (as seen here). Honestly, I could probably eat 2 whole plantain all by myself... they ARE a vegetable after all :).
On that note, I used a green unripe plantain here. They are less sweet and less starch/carb at this stage. They are also firmer and cook up crispier. You can use this cooking method with ripe (dark) plantains too. They will be considerably softer and won't get crispy. They will also have a sweeter, roasted flavour.
Either way, they are a wonderful change from grains, rice or potatoes and pair well with so many other foods. I think we'll be seeing a lot more plantain on our plates from now on.