“They look terrible, but it’s just the outside.”

Yellow plantains. They’re those oversized bananas at the end of the produce island, sitting in the specialty basket next to the teeny-tiny bananas that many of us have no idea how to approach. Are those even bananas at all? They are, but they’re the cooking variety.

“In Puerto Rico, these are like our potatoes. Others make loaded baked potatoes… we do the same with these and lots more.”

Plantain yellow banana food fruit platano

photo by @carissaweiser

In some areas, yellow variety plantains are called plátanos machos or plátanos amarillos (among other things). While they might not look to be a rockstar produce item on the outside, underneath that battered outer peel is an intact banana relative that’s heavier on the starch than typical dessert bananas and can be cooked to a tender or crunchy texture to wow any dinner guest.

Special thanks to Ann Marie and Luis for this fantastic eat.

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Canoas (Loaded Canoes) for 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe plátanos amarillos (yellow plantains that are now black)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (for frying plantains)
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon of Adobo seasoning (or any seasoning of your choice)
  • pico de gallo or your favorite salsa
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1 lime (optional)

Directions:

  1. Peel plantains and cut off both ends.plantain cooking platanos dinner banana
  2. Cut a slit lengthwise down each plantain, making sure to not cut completely through the plantain (that is… make a canoe and don’t cut in half).
  3. Heat vegetable oil on medium-high heat in a high-rimmed skillet wide enough for both plantains.
  4. Carefully slide plantains into the oil, frying and turning occasionally until they are golden brown yet still soft. Remove plantains and place on a plate with paper towel before they become firm (a fork should pierce them easily).
  5. In another skillet, brown the ground beef, draining excess fat and seasoning with salt, pepper, and any seasoning of choice.
  6. To plate: Load each plantain with ground beef, salsa, cheese, and sour cream. Sprinkle with cilantro and drizzle with lime juice.

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