A couple of weeks ago, I turned to my husband and said (for the millionth time) "Remember those fried plantains Aunt Sandy made? Those were so good." The difference is that this time, I followed it up with "Do you think we could make those?" We stopped for a moment and thought about it. "I mean....they can't be that difficult, right?" A quick internet search later revealed that no. They weren't that difficult! So I headed for the grocery store on a mission.
I bought some plantains and sliced them up into bite sized pieces.
I love the way plantains look. The picture doesn't show it very well. They look like regular bananas but then when you slice them, they have a pink tinge running around the center. It is very pretty!! And very reassuring to remind me that they aren't actually bananas!
I poured vegetable oil into our cast iron skillet and was letting that warm up on the stove over medium high heat. In the meantime, I sliced up the Queso Fresco.
The texture of Queso Fresco is kind of like a cross between mozzarella and feta. Which feels weird to say because those are very different cheeses. But it has that soft, wetter freshness of mozzarella but with some of the drier crumbliness of feta. It tastes very clean, very subtle. It tastes like milk. That is the simplest way to put it. It isn't a perfect description, but it works.
Once the oil was up to temperature, I put the plantain slices in to fry. They tend to group together and they tend to stick together.
Let them float around in there and fry. Flip them over so that both sides brown. Take them out when they are a golden brown color and drain them on a paper towel. While they are draining, sprinkle with kosher salt. When they are done draining and they have been cooled enough, through them on a plate and enjoy them!!
The plantain chips are delicious on their own. The cheese is delicious on their own. Together, they are even better! This recipe is really simple, really delicious and a healthier alternative when you want a munchy, salty snack. It is interesting because each chip tastes a little different. Some of them taste very starchy, just like a potato. Some of them have a definite fruity, banana-y flavor to them. The best ones, in my opinion, are the ones that have a little bit of both. You get the satisfying starchiness in them but you also get that sweet flavor, almost like the sugars in the fruit crystallized while they were cooking. So delicious. I highly recommend trying this recipe. It is so simple and the payoff in terms of taste is so huge.
Now if you will excuse me, I have some plantains to fry....