Plantain

Cooking with plantains is an easy way to switch up your starchy sides. They are often referred to as the pasta and potatoes of the Caribbean. At first glance, plantains can be a bit intimidating. They look like bigger versions of bananas that are harder to open. But, once you get inside, the fruit is slightly sweet with a starchy texture that works well when fried, roasted, sautéed or baked. Food & Wine's guide to these warm-weather fruits give you recipes for every stage of ripeness, from the potato-like green plantains to the ultra-ripe black plantains that are perfect for dessert.

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Crispy Fried Sweet Plantains
Cuban maduros, or fried sweet plantains, are an essential side at photographer Romulo Yanes’ table. The best are made with very ripe plantains, which have peels that are mostly black. Slideshow: More Plantain Recipes 
Plantains
Cooking with plantains is an easy way to switch up your starchy sides. They look like bigger versions of bananas that are harder to open. But, once you get inside, the fruit is slightly sweet with a starchy texture that works well when fried, roasted, sautéed or baked. Here, our best recipes.
Tostones: Savory Plantains
Lourdes Castro teaches students how to fry plantains for perfect tostones. Latin American Recipes
Plantain and Goat Cheese Gorditas
Rating: Unrated
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These crispy, cheese-stuffed bites are the kind of Mexican comfort food chef Sue Torres cooks. "You can stuff the mashed plantains with lots of fun things, like chorizo, beans or shrimp," she says. The key to their success is finding ultraripe plantains, "so black and soft and sweet that you think you should throw them out." As with bananas, underripe plantains ripen more quickly when placed in a paper bag. More Mexican Recipes
Plantain Chips with Chicken and Mojito Mango Salsa
Plantain chips are great with chicken and salsa, but tortilla chips can be a good substitute.Plus: More Chicken Recipes and Tips
Fried Sweet Plantains
Plantains are abundant all over the Caribbean, and one popular way to eat them is to pan-fry the sweet banana-like slices until they're warm and tender. Delicious, Quick Side Dishes
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More Plantain

Fried Green Plantains
In this classic Latin American dish known as tostones, unripe plantains are sliced, smashed and fried twice, until golden. Slideshow: Great Latin American Recipes