Oh how I love a plantain. They are so delicious and verstaile that they’ve even lured this Irishwoman away from potatoes with every meal. I love the sweet stickiness of a ripe plantain as magic happens when you cook them.
Frying them is the traditional way to serve the plantain but as I’m using only serving small amounts at a time, I don’t like getting the pan out for one at a time. So I’ve been playing around with other ways to get my plantain just right. Coating them with sugar and spices and baking them in the oven before stuffing them with mozzarella gives close to plantain perfection.
Stuffed Baked Plantain (serves 4)
- 4 ripe plantain
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder or chilli flakes
- salt and pepper
- 125g ball mozzarella
Ripe plantain have deep yellow skins, usually speckled with black. Try and buy those that are soft but without black tips and ends. These are a bit too ripe for this recipe. Cut the ends off each plantain and run the knife down the skin so it cracks the skin but doesn’t pierce the flesh. This will allow you to take the skin off in one piece without breaking the plaintain.
Put the plantain in a large freezer bag or dish and drizzle the oil over them. Rub it in and then scatter the icing sugar, paprika, chilli and salt and pepper over them. Make sure they are evenlycoated.
Set them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake in the oven at 200℃ for 20 minutes. Carefully turn the plantain over and bake for another 20 minutes at the same temperature.
Take the plantain out of the oven and turn them so that they lie as flat as possible on your tray. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit in them down the centre, making sure it doesn’t go as far as the ends. Slice your mozzarella ball into rounds about the thickness of a pound coin and stuff them into the this slit. You’ll be amazed how much cheese each plantain can hold.
Pop the plantain back in the oven and bake for another 1o minutes until the cheese is gooey and melted. Serve the plantain whole with some rice and maybe some black beans on the side. A little drizzle of hot sauce and a scattering of fresh coriander is excellent here too.
These plantain is so good with their slightly caramelised surface and melting middles. I think this is a recipe you’ll make again and again and you could experiment with any cheese that melts well.