Monday, May 2, 2011

Day 123: Banana-ish

Tonight, I had my first encounter with the plantain, a member of the banana family. Plantains are a much starchier, less sugary cousin of the banana--in fact, to my mind, they're barely like a banana at all. This may have something to do with the ripeness of the plantain I prepared tonight, but the fact that plantains are most often (and most recommended) served cooked supports my claim. The moisture content is lower in a plantain. The peel is much more difficult to remove. In nature, if I were an animal wandering around wondering what to eat, I think I would decide plantains were too difficult to deal with and go for something else. Which is the kind of defense mechanism vegetables generally have. That, and some vegetables tend to make you a little sick when you eat them raw. I don't know if raw plantain will make you sick or not, but it certainly wouldn't be pleasant, I can guess that without trying.

Here's how I prepared my plantains: boiled, then mashed with some of the boiling water, salt, and olive oil. Pretty simple. I had them alongside a pork chop and some caramelized onions (we had a couple of onions that were on their way out and Ian and I both love a caramelized onion, so we eat them as a side dish on their own, not just as a topping). The recipe I had said you could substitute the plantains with potatoes, and that confused me at first. But actually, they were quite potato-ish. Maybe a little more starchy. Ian said he detected a hint of banana flavor, but I almost wonder if that was psychosomatic: they look like bananas, so they must taste like bananas.

I think I'm going to have to experiment with plantains: different preparations, different levels of ripeness.

As for today's fruit: strawberries (in smoothie form) and plantain (if you count it as a fruit)

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