In my short-ish life span, I have learned many life lessons. One of the most valuable I had to learn the hard way after a number of nights attempting to keep up with my Peruvian amiga, Andrea. Latin Americans can drink. It’s as though the effects of alcohol flow through them in a less toxic and intoxicating manner than those of a paler nature. This may seem racist, but I believe this is a cultural reality. Moreover, I believe the basis for their tolerance stems from a well-kept secret hidden within the every day culinary artistry of this vibrant culture. Long nights of alcoholic intake can only be endured upon the consumption of the deliciously nutritious greasy salty yummy in my tummy fried plantains.
In my years of living with Andrea, she would make the most delicious fried plantains. Occasionally, we’d enjoy this delicious snack as an appetizer to a much larger dinner before our nights of debauchery. Other times, she’d cook up these little marvels as a hangover cure. Prior to my introduction to Latin American cuisine, I found plantains to be a dry fibrous disaster. In my teenage years, I remember attempting this simple dish as an accompaniment to a Brazilian feast with a rather unfortunate ending. Upon my more informed tutelage, I learned there are two incredibly important factors when frying up these little morsels. One, plantains have to be basically black and almost starting to grow mold before you cook them. Second, before you peel the plantains you have to tenderize them. I prefer to lightly beat them with a bottle of wine. Then you can slice them up, fry them up and enjoy!
4 black plantains, tenderized and sliced ½ inch thick
Pour enough vegetable oil to fill a frying pan ½ inch high. Heat the oil on medium high heat, throw in one slice and wait for bubbles to form on the around the test slice, signaling the oil is hot enough. Fry the plantains roughly two minutes on either side. Allow to drain on a piece of paper towel on a plate. Season with salt. Bon appétit!