Muse_of_Fire

Plantains make me SO. ANGRY.

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I love plantains. I love them! They are one of my favorite starches and every time I have a chance to order them at a restaurant I get them and they are wonderful.

I have been trying through my entire Whole30 (I am currently on day 26) to incorporate plantains and they fail every time. They take forever to peel, and when I do manage to peel them, the skins take half the edible "meat" of the plantain with them. They never seem to get done, no matter how, or how long, I cook them.

The resources I have found say to wait until they are really, really ripe, but they all have different definitions of what "ripe" looks like: yellow with brown spots, mostly black, completely black. I have tried cooking them in all stages of ripeness. I know there are different ways to cook them based on how ripe they are. None of them have worked for me.

I did do a recipe where I just peeled, sliced, and roasted them in oil with seasoning, and those turned out OK but it was still a TON of work to peel them, and I think they were either still too unripe (even though they were basically black) or I didn't cook them long enough (even though they were in the oven for 20 minutes longer than the recipe called for), because they were still pretty hard/tough. Aren't they supposed to soften up when they cook? How are restaurant plantains so soft?

"Bake them in their skins!" they said. "It's so simple!" they said. 

I tried. 

After baking them (for 20 minutes longer than the recipe calls for), they still would not give up their skins. And now that they are (theoretically) baked, and peeled, they are turning black. Are they supposed to? Some are really hard, some are really mushy.

The only common denominator in this is me. So what am I doing wrong? Everyone else seems to have magical plantain power. How do you peel them? Cutting a long slit still means I have to spend forever hacking the peel away in chunks (regardless of stage of ripeness). How do you cook them? Why can't I figure this out?

Please help so I can enjoy my plantains without raging out every time.

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I've never had a hard time peeling a ripe (black or with black) plantain.  the green ones are a pain in the rear to peel.  The way i do it is to cut many long strips into the peel and then pry them off... yes, pry... they don't peel like a banana and sometimes if there's a sticky spot, it will peel away a chunk of the actual plantain.  

You may get some better information if you go onto some Latin American cooking sites and forums as plantains are a staple in that type of cooking.

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I usually buy mine still somewhat greenish, and do tostones like this:  http://www.realfoodwithdana.com/tostones-fried-green-plantains/ -- I usually peel them the way she notes here, but occasionally, I go ahead and cut the unpeeled plantain into slices, then use a paring knife to cut around the inside of the peel, push the plantain out, leaving a ring of peel. Probably not the most efficient way to do it, but if I don't feel like wrestling with the peel, it works.

I haven't tried it yet, but Mel Joulwan has a recipe where you boil the plantains first, and then pan fry them -- maybe that would work for you:  https://meljoulwan.com/2015/08/04/crispy-plantains-garlic-sauce/

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