These are a great allergy-friendly finger food for parties because unlike most fritters or fried foods, they require no flour or egg to become crispy. Plantains are a close relative of bananas (themselves a relatively non-allergenic food) and are a staple in many tropical countries. They're also the source of fufu flour, a difficult-to-find starchy flour alternative that makes a nice gluten-free dredge for sweeter foods. You can cook these when the plantain peels are yellow or black. If your supermarket usually has only green plantains available, buy them a few days ahead and let them ripen on your counter.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
- 2 or more plantains
- neutral high-heat frying oil (corn, canola, safflower, sunflower, peanut)
- salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- cumin, to taste
- cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
- If making a large batch (6 or more plantains), preheat oven to 250 F.
- To prepare plantains, cut off the top and bottom of the plantain with a paring knife. If the plantain peel is black, you may be able to peel it at this point. If the peel does not come off easily, make several slits down the entire length of the plantain, just barely through the peel, with a paring knife, and take off the peel in chunks and discard. When the plantains are peeled, slice them into 1/4-inch rings.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat. Fry plantains on both sides until golden-brown, about 2 minutes per side (if plantains blacken quickly, lower the heat). Drain on a rack or on a plate covered with paper towels. Season immediately with salt, pepper, cumin, and (optionally) cayenne pepper. If making a large batch, keep plantains warm in the oven until serving. Serve immediately.
Serving suggestions: Fried plantains go well with many of the same toppings you'd associate with tortilla chips -- tomato or fruit salsas, or guacamole. Note that, by using more plantains, you can make this dish to serve any number of people.