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Platanos maduros

September 13, 2011

I cook to eat. I cook to serve, nourish and fulfill others. I cook because it’s what I know how to do and I love it. I cook to relax. I cook to become excited through a new creation. And sometimes I cook to forget. And after I’m finished cooking to forget, I begin to cook to remember.

A screaming sharp knife is necessary to me. I relish in the methodical rhythm of chopping, dicing and stirring. Sometimes it can make you feel whole again. Well almost. How ironic that a sharp knife might invoke wholeness in one.

The sound of onions searing in a hot pan. The smell of butter browning in a tiny sauce span. You, patiently skimming the milk fat from the top of it. Hand steady like that of a brain surgeon, or a bus driver. Sometimes, all it takes to bring you back down to earth is the familiar aroma of basil, garlic and room temperature tomato. Tomato, always at room temperature (don’t forget).

And sometimes what appears to be dead is not.

The reveal is slightly starchy, but every bit sweet. Looks can be deceiving.

For platanos maduros it is imperative to choose plantains with a very black peel. The plantain should also be soft to the touch (slightly squishy) and not firm. Cooking a non-ripe plantain will yield a very starchy plantain. These are called tostones. You want maduros (which are sweet).

Remove skin and slice in diagonal slices. Fry in pan splashed generously with canola oil (olive oil in moderation will also work). Brown on both sides until golden.

Please don’t mind if your maduros are slightly blackened and burned at the edges. These are really good, as the ends are caramelized and delicious.

Serve with black beans, and white rice or a combination of the two affectionately called, arroz moro. These maduros are also great sprinkled with a crumbly white cheese (queso fresco) and served along with your favorite pulled pork, pork belly, or pork anything dish.

I eat them straight from the pan with a happier heart, clearer mind, and always eager fingers.

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