Plantains are related to bananas, but plantains are larger, starchier and are typically eaten cooked while bananas are sweeter and typically eaten raw. My friend shared with me some ripe plantains and I wanted to enjoy the sweet mellow flavor without the added calories. I decided to bake them instead of frying. Fried plantain is a popular part of my Jamaican cuisine and is also popular throughout the rest of the Caribbean islands and Africa. It is mostly used as a vegetable and is eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is mostly fried but can also be boiled, roasted or grilled. For this method I used the riper plantains that have black spots, they are slightly soft to touch (like a ripe banana) but not mushy.
I remember when growing up we had a garden in our back yard and we grew a variety of fruits and vegetables. We planted bananas, plantains, breadfruit, oranges, pigeon peas, sweet sap, sour sop, mangoes, sugarcane, cassava, yam, sweet potatoes, callaloo, ackee, tomatoes, peppers and thyme. We lived in front of the beach but we were at a much higher elevation than the Caribbean sea. Our soil was very rich and whatever we would plant would grow. During the long summer days, we would get together with the neighborhood children and pool our money together, to buy chicken, salt fish or canned mackerel, white flour to cook a large communal meal. We would then pick breadfruit for roasting and ackee to cook with the salt fish. We used the flour to make huge dumplings about 6 inches wide which we called cart wheels. I forgot to mention we would also buy white sugar to mix with limes or Seville oranges to make our drink. We would most likely use a coal pot to cook these outside instead of our gas stoves.
We would spend a lot of time laughing and talking while the meal was being prepared, then we would all sit and eat until we were all satisfied. Life back in the island was so peaceful and simple, we enjoyed the simple things in life. We were into family and community, everyone knew each other. The older members were respected and we felt a sense of security. To this day, I love simplicity, country, nature, water, people, joy, family and simple food that bring family and friends together.
- 2 plantains
- cooking spray
Preheat oven 400 degrees. Lightly spray parchment lined cookie sheet and set aside. Using a knife remove the peel of the plantain by cutting off the ends then cut through the skin lengthwise. Remove the skin and slice diagonally. Place slices on cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes turning halfway.
Plantain peeled and sliced diagonally.
Plantain slices on baking sheet.