When Tom, capsule a born and bred Michigander, illness moved to NYC for grad school he gawked at the piles of black, pathopsychology “rotten” bananas sold at the bodega around the corner from his itty-bitty studio. Who would buy these? Why didn’t the bodega just throw them out? Why is produce in NYC so gross?
It wasn’t until he met me and received his education on Cuban food that he realized those black, rotting bananas were actually plantains. And plantains are quite delicious. Today’s plantains are great for a simple weeknight side dish. They’re boiled until tender, then mashed with garlic, orange juice, lime juice and drizzled with olive oil. Super easy, but super flavorful. The plantains are sweet, but not too sweet, and the citrus and garlic add just the right about of bite.
We ate ours with Parmesan-breaded tilapia and a simple side salad. A yummy and economical Recession meal.
Mojo Mashed Plantains
Mojo Mashed plantains make a great base for fried or poached eggs, roasted pork, pork tenderloin, chicken, fish…almost anything!
6 ripe plantains*
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice**
2 tbsp. fresh orange juice**
6 – 8 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste with mortar & pestle (or finely minced)
1/4 cup olive oil for drizzling
Set a large pot of water over high heat. While it comes to a boil, slice off the ends of the plantains, cut a slit into the peel lengthwise (from one end to the other), then cut them into 3 pieces. You’re going to leave the peel on while you boil them because they’re difficult to peel raw. Place them in the boiling water as you go.
Boil the plantains for 25 – 30 minutes or until the insides are fork-tender. Drain and carefully remove the peels (they’ll be hot!) by grabbing them on the slit-side and pulling. The peels should come off easily. Discard.
While your plantains boil, make your mojo by whisking together the lime juice, orange juice, garlic and salt.
Return the peeled plantains to the pot, but keep them off the heat. Using a potato mashed, or a couple of big forks, mashed the plantains until there are not more big, chunky pieces. Add the MOjo and mix well, mashing them more as you go.
Serve and drizzle with olive oil.
Makes 6 side servings.
*You know plantains are ripe when they’re mostly black with a little bit of yellow showing through. If they’re not ripe enough, they won’t mash well.
**Or the juice of 1 large sour orange if you can find it.