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Recipe: Platanos Maduros (Sweet Fried Plantains)

A traditional Hispanic side dish.

While I was on vacation last week, I went to a Mexican/Spanish restaurant and was so excited to see "platanos" on the menu.

I am pretty sure most of you don't know what that is, but let me just say, they are delicious.

Platanos are plantains, a fruit similar to bananas—the plantain is firmer, lower is sugar, bigger and tend to be cooked before eaten. 

Growing up in Miami, I am no stranger to eating plantains cooked in a variety of ways. They really are a staple in Cuban cuisine, much like chips or french fries are in America. 

Cooking a plantain at different stages of ripeness yield different results.

My favorite is a platano maduro—a fried plantain that is very, very ripe. The end result is a savory and sweet side dish that is sure to please.

Though plantains aren't as common here, you can usually find them in the produce section of your local grocery store.

Here's how you make them:

What you need:

1 very ripe plantain (the skin will be black, and it'll look like it has to be thrown out)
Vegetable oil
Salt (optional)

What you need to do:

1. Heat oil in a skillet (oil should be about 1/4-inch deep).
2. Peel the black skin from the plantain and slice it diagonally so that pieces are about 1/2-inch thick. You can slice it into rounds or length wise.
3. Add the plantain slices into the oil and cook until they are golden brown. Cook each side.
4. Remove the cooked plantains from the oil and place them on a dish lined with paper towels to drain.
5. Add salt to your plantains if you wish to do so.

Enjoy!

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