Rich and I had another date night last Friday. We cooked dinner together, ran a couple of errands, picked up dessert (almond tarts!) from a local pastry shop and cafe and caught up on a few of our TV shows. Exciting night, I know, but we had fun. We have been having a lot of date nights lately, as my parents have been very generous with Calvin’s overnight visits. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
We had Caribbean night at dinner, with jerk seasoning rubbed pork chops and baked plantains. We also played reggae music on the stereo – gotta love being able to pick a genre on Spotify. Not sure what the neighbors thought since it was really warm outside and we had the windows open. Our taste of spring and tropical food was a nice change from heavy winter meals and cold weather.
The pork chops were okay, but not really anything special. I think I prefer my jerk seasoning on chicken, which is how we usually do it. I will try to make that sometime soon so I can share the recipe with you. The plantains, on the other hand, were fabulous.
I had never cooked plantains before, so I looked up recipes online. They were all about the same – bake ripe plantains until tender. Some recipes called for peeling and slicing the plantains first, others called for baking in the skin. I opted to peel and slice them before baking. They baked up nicely, smelling slightly of ripe bananas. As they were cooking, they caramelized beautifully, but they were a little bland. I decided to brush them with a little honey and lemon juice spiked with a little cinnamon. That was just the touch they needed.
Plantains will be showing up on our menu fairly regularly now. I liked them as we had them, as a starchy side. I’m sure they would be delicious as a dessert, with much more of the sweet syrup. As they were, they were only slightly sweet, with a very subtle banana flavor, and were a nice foil for our spicy pork chops. We will try them with chicken or fish next time, I think, for a flavor of the Caribbean in the middle of the Midwest.
Honey Lemon Plantains
From The Cook’s Life
Ripe plantains are dark yellow with lots of black spots. They will feel slightly soft when pressed, but won’t be squishy like really ripe bananas.
Cooking spray or vegetable oil
2 large ripe plantains
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
dash ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a nonstick baking sheet or line with parchment paper and grease the parchment. Don’t skip this step – the plantains tend to stick. Set aside.
Peel the plantains by slicing off the ends and then slitting the skin with a knife down the side. Peel the skin away from the flesh. Slice the plantain into 1-1½ slices and place cut side down on the prepared baking sheet.
Spray pieces lightly with cooking spray or brush lightly with oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn slices over and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides and tender when pierced with a fork.
While plantains are baking, heat honey for 15 seconds in the microwave, or until hot. Add lemon juice and cinnamon and stir well. Set aside until plantains are baked.
When plantains are done, brush tops with honey and lemon mixture. Serve immediately with any extra honey sauce on the side.