I spat out the first bite of plantain I ever took. I was on my honeymoon in Belize and we’d just been on an excursion that proved more risky than I was led to understand by our resort. We were told we were having an “authentic lunch” that day and it lived up to that promise. The promise kept wasn’t enough to get me to chew and swallow the pretend banana alongside the ethnic stewed meat. I put plantains on my no-no list.
Fast forward about three years. I’ve completed two rounds of Whole30. I’m training for my first half marathon. I’m fueling my body almost exclusively with real foods and feeling great. My real-food carb intake is getting pretty repetitive as a Whole30 runner. A girl can only eat so many potatoes, ya feel me? So I ventured into territory I vowed to never return to and tossed one of the a plantain (pretend banana) in my cart one day. I’d seen a few plantain-frying Instagram tutorials and they didn’t look as bad as I remembered.
Andrew selflessly fried the first plantains in our marriage. He actually made them into tostones. We did an embarrassing amount of research to figure out how to make them but let me save you some time. You slice them, fry them, smash them, and fry them again. Tostones just means means they’re double fried and smashed. We followed a recipe that first time and holy shmoly are they delicious.
So my carb refuel became MUCH more interesting. I began slicing up plantain and using it as my starch at any meal, and I haven’t looked back. We love them around here in our regular rotation, not only for when taters are getting old.
Now we skip the smash and second fry and opt for very ripe plantains that don’t need to be smashed to cook through. They are soft to begin with, so the cooking time is just about getting the golden crispy edges just right. The little guy pictured here could actually use even a few more days on the counter! If there’s black and yellow present, it’s fit for frying into these tasty medallions.
I call this recipe “plantain medallions” to distinguish them from the tostones mentioned earlier. They’re so easy to cook and add an important variety to a person trying to embrace a real food lifestyle. I often hear clients say that the potatoes as a starchy veggie are getting OLD, well here’s the answer, friends!
- 2-3 tbsp light olive oil OR coconut oil
- 1 ripe plantain
Place a small skillet over low heat. After about one minute, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet.
Peel ripe plantain and cut into medallions about 1/4-inch thick. Add them to the pan in one layer, careful to not overcrowd the pan. They should not be touching. Set a timer for two minutes.
After about two minutes, check the bottom of the plantains for doneness. Timing will depend on your stove, but cooking the first side usually takes about 4 minutes . They are done on the first side when they are golden and light brown around the edges. At this point, flip them.
After about two minutes, check the second side for the same doneness as the first. When the second side is golden brown on the edges, transfer the plantains to a paper towel and immediately sprinkle with salt.
Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil will give the plantains an even sweeter dimension of flavor, while light olive oil will be more mild and allow the plantains to really shine. Either way, don't forget to salt!