For me, living in Panamá meant eating plátanos. With almost every meal, there were fried smashed plantains called patacones or sweet plantains known as plátanos maduros. Patacones use unripened, green plantains, while to make maduros, you must use very ripened plantains.
For maduros, plantains should be nearly black–as if they’re a week past going bad. Really, don’t be afraid–let them ripen until you no longer see yellow on the peel. Once you’ve got your ripened plantains, you only have a few more easy steps before digging into this caramelized sweet dish, a perfect accompaniment to BBQ meat, rice and beans–or by itself as a delicious snack!
-1 large ripened plantain, diagonally cut into 1/2-inch pieces
-1 Tbs. coconut oil, plus more if necessary
-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
-1/2 lime (optional)
Heat the oil in a medium skillet on high heat until a bead of water evaporates when hitting the skillet. Place the pieces of plantains down on one side and cook for about 1 minute, or until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until you achieve a golden color on the other side.
Turn the heat down to low. If the pan is dry, add more oil, 1 tsp. at a time. Sprinkle on the cinnamon now if you choose to use. Cover, and let cook for about 5 minutes, or until pieces are fully caramelized.
Remove from the plantains and spritz with lime if you’d like. Serve and enjoy!
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