Monday, February 25, 2013

Oven Baked Plantains with Coconut Dipping Sauce, Tommy Bahama Style

I have always loved those greasy, fried plantains that you get in a Caribbean restaurant. But not because of the grease. The firm texture, the slight banana like sweetness, the crispy edges; kind of like a sweet french fry. I can only imagine the calorie bomb that they are, having never looked it up, thus I resolved to only eat them on rare occasion. 

Well, one of those rare occasions came this past December when my sisters-in-law and I went on a little shopping spree and ended up at the Tommy Bahama restaurant in Naples, Florida. They serve their fried plantains with a creamy, sweet dipping sauce that complements the plantains beautifully.

Enter this recipe by Susan Voisen at Fat Free Vegan for Oven-Fried Plantains. Bake the plantains? Could it really work?

I set out to try. My first attempt was a big ole bomb, as I didn't let the plantains ripen quite enough. They really need to be black all over to get the right softness and sweetness before baking. This could take up to a week from when you purchase them at the grocery store, so planning ahead is essential.

My next three attempts were varying levels of success, mostly because these tend to burn easily. I ate 'em anyway, because I just can get enough of Oven Baked Plantains. Served with this Cuban Black Bean dish, you've got a dinner that you'll proudly serve to guests, but is easy enough for any weeknight. And if you like Caribbean food like I do, these dishes just might become staples in your kitchen. 

Oven Baked Plantains with Coconut Dipping Sauce

As many plantains as you want, ripened until the skin is black all over (I recommend at least one plantain per person, but that's because I can eat two at a sitting)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare baking sheets by lining with aluminum foil and lightly spraying with cooking oil spray. I can fit about 3 plantains on one baking sheet.

Cut off ends of plantains. Slice the skin from top to bottom. Peel the plantains and slice on the diagonal, about 1" thick. Place plantain slices on baking sheets in a single layer. 

Bake for 30 minutes, turning once in the middle. This might take a bit of babysitting, as the plantains tend to burn.

Coconut Dipping Sauce
prepare one recipe per 2-3 plantains

1/2 cup vanilla soy or coconut yogurt
1 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

Stir ingredients together in a small bowl and serve along side the baked plantains. Sit back and marvel about how easy it was to create something so delicious!

Because of the addition of the coconut dipping sauce, these Oven Baked Plantains could easily stand in for a not too sweet dessert. Or in my case, could be your whole dinner on an exhausted week night!

What about you? Do you love plantains? Did you miss those greasy fried ones from the old days? Have you ever tried this method? Did you meet with success?
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