Welcome to the May 2013 Virtual Vegan Potluck! 169 bloggers from around the world sharing vegan recipes – what could be more yum?!
I’m happy to be participating, although truth be told I intended to wow you with a fabulous dish I learned how to make in cooking school in China. But life got in the way and it just didn’t happen. I almost pulled out, but instead, I decided to go with the flow like we all have to sometimes when a work meeting goes late, the kid needs help with a huge project that they just remembered is due tomorrow (!), and on top of that there are 4 evening appointments, 2 soccer practices and a game, the husband is traveling for work and you just don’t feel up to cooking something fabulous because your’e in a hectic haze. You know what I mean?
So I decided to bring Cinnamon Plantains. This is a great side for those days when you need something quick and want something with flair. They are humble, yet never fail to impress. No formal recipe needed, it’s so simple. They work well with any Caribbean, Central or South American dish or as a side to a big salad, soup or sandwich. And I know this is the ‘Sides’ section of the potluck, but they also make a simple, healthy dessert, appetizer or snack.
New to plantains? Plantains are found in the produce aisle, usually near the bananas or tropical fruits. They look like big heavy bananas but are sold singly rather than in bunches. Choose plantains that are turning black – the blacker they are, the sweeter they are. See the photo? May not look pretty, but that one was perfectly sweet. If none are ripe enough, buy anyway and wait for the black to appear. Plantains are more starchy and less sweet than bananas, far less sweet if they aren’t ripe enough.
Cut the ends off the plantains, slice the peel down the length and remove it – be warned, these peels are thick and if they aren’t super ripe you may have to work a bit to get them off.
Slice the plantains however you like – I usually do slightly diagonal rounds. They should be about 1/4 inch thick.
Heat a cast iron pan to between medium and medium-high (using cast iron is great but any pan will do – just adjust the oil amount as needed so they don’t stick). Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. when the oil is hot, sprinkle plantain slices with cinnamon and place in the pan in a single layer. Saute until golden on the bottom and flip using tongs. For reference, I used 2 plantains here.
When the second side is nicely browned, remove, drain on a paper towel if you like and serve. Careful, they will be super hot inside and they’re hard to resist!
If you’re expecting guests and you’ve underestimated how long it would take the plantains to ripen well and they’re still a bit firm, no worries! Just smash each piece slightly using a heavy bottomed glass to soften it a little and drizzle a bit of agave syrup over them while they cook to add a little sweetness.
Viola! An easy, tasty, healthy, sweet, lovely little side (or snack, or appetizer, or dessert) for the next time your frazzled self needs an above average dish that requires less than the minuscule amount of time and energy you have left in reserves. Enjoy!
Now off you go! Soup’s on if you choose ‘go forward’! Thanks for visiting!