Twenty years ago, if you were a Latino family transplant in Savannah, and told your local grocer that you were looking for plantains, he may have scrunched his face asked you to repeat and describe said fruit, and then point you in the direction of either the banana section or Publix. That’s because Publix was the only well known vendor at the time to provide common Latin food products on a regular basis. It wasn’t cheap either. But my how times have changed. Now, thanks to the internet and a more global economy, Savannahians are very familiar with this unique, tropical cousin to the banana. You can find it in just about any major supermarket for a reasonable price. And it’s quite popular in many Latin cuisine restaurants. Differentiating in texture and flavor, the plantain is like a bigger, green banana with a slightly bitter taste.
Plantains aren't ideal for Banana Nut Bread, but they're an excellent, filling starch for savory bites like this recipe...
Stuffed Tostones: Pairing avocado with plantains and a little Low Country touch of fresh, local shrimp is a winning combo. They are very popular in the Spanish speaking Caribbean parts of South America. Get that apron ready! Ingredients:
3 cups of canola oil
1 green plantain
Butter, garlic and salt herb seasoning
Shrimp – sauteed in butter and garlic to taste
Additional Materials: Frying pan or fryer
Lemon squeezer covered in plastic (for molding purposes) or a tostonera/plantain press
A strong, sharp knife for peeling the plantains
Instructions: To peel the plantains, which can be tricky, point the tip of the knife at the top of the seams of the plantains. Puncture it and run the blade down each seam, peeling each section.
Pro Tip - Run the plantains under hot tap water for a few minutes to soften them before cutting open to peel.
- Once the plantains are peeled, do the following:
- Slice them into about 4 or 5 pieces
- Pour your canola oil into the frying pan, with just enough to immerse the plantain pieces completely
- Bring the oil to a “ready to fry” boiling temperature
- Carefully slide the plantain pieces into the pan
- Fry each one for 5 minutes
- Take out of the pan
- Now take the plastic covered lemon squeezer or tostonera and squeeze each plantain piece with the tool until it has a beautiful mini bowl shape
- Carefully slide each plantain bowl back into the pan and fry now only for 2 minutes
- Take the plantain bowls out, let them sit in paper towels for oil absorption
- Lightly dash salt into each plantain bowl
- Now take the avocado an scrape out all the filling with a fork
- Take the avocado filling and stuff it into the plantain bowls
- Take two shrimp for each plantain bowl and hang each shrimp on the crisp edge of the bowls, facing each other
- Lightly dash the stuffed tostones with the herb seasoning
- Top off with fresh cilantro leaves
- Serve and ENJOY!
For a visual aid, check out our video from WTOC’s Morning Break Show and see for yourself why you may find that we’re one of the best places to eat in Savannah!