It was prophetic that as Earth Day approached our very own plantain tree let us know it was ready to be harvested with some over-ripe brown fruits among the yellow gems in the bunch. When you live in Southern California and are fortunate to have a plantain tree in your yard (and your husband is your at-home chef who’s often looking for ways to vary a weekend menu) you’re trained to anticipate a springtime golden bounty.

Year-in-and-year-out, the March-to-June harvest of the banana-like fruit is a special family event. Not only do we feel lucky, possessing a fruit-bearing tree (along with a fig tree on an opposite end of the yard), but we’re also grateful because we know we’re in for a taste treat. The bonus takeaway is the realization that we get to participate in a rare cultivation activity. It’s an unfamiliar process for many, including us, except for this time of year (and for those who are smart enough to grow their own garden).

Whether you like to eat plantains as a savory side dish or a standalone dessert, we find them a versatile complement to any menu, usually plucked, prepped, and eaten on the same day. For that reason, I’m assuming we’re getting the healthiest round of nutrients that the plant has to offer. It’s a mini-food chain example that forces me to consider the role of producers (the plantain tree) and final consumers (my family and me) in the plant world on this glorious Earth Day.

Savory Plantains

Earth Day Plantains

Ingredients
  • Plantain bunch (or whatever your tree yields)
  • EVOO
Savory
  • Sea salt
  • Garlic powder
Or…

Sweet Plantains

Sweet
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
Prep
  1. Peel plantains and trim hard ends.
  2. Remove outer stringy fiber.
  3. Slice on the diagonal in ¼” pieces.
Cook
  1. Using an iron skillet, heat pan with enough EVOO to cover the surface. (These are not deep fried, so a thin coating will do!)
  2. Sauté for 2 -3 minutes, then flip to sauté on the other side for an additional 2 -3 minutes.
Serve
  1. Transfer to a serving dish.
  2. Toss with sea salt and garlic powder for a savory side dish.
Or…

2. Sprinkle with a light coating of cinnamon and sugar for a unique dessert (excellent with a light ice cream, gelato or whipped cream dollop)

 

Be sure to get your Plantain Nutrition Facts from the NIH. Then read an interesting history review of plantains on The Counter website.

 

Recipe: Earth Day Plantains by Chef Danny K | IG: @athomegreek
FB: @athomegreekeats
Intro written by Maria Felicia Kelley | 4.22.24
@socalspotlight | @1MariaFelicia 
The North County Moms

 

Other recipes on SoCal Spotlight:

SoCal Peach Cobbler

Danny K’s Caprese Skewers on Himalayan Salt Block