Layering slices of fried, sweet, caramelized ripe plantains in your sandwich is a game changer. Try it once and you may find yourself never wanting a sandwich without it.
Fried ripe plantain is nothing new to us, we make and eat it all the time – as a side dish; a must-have accompaniment to a luscious pot of Cook-up rice; actually, fried ripe plantains can be eaten with almost anything (which we do), but here is what makes it particularly exceptional when sandwiched. First, we need to talk about the taste. When very ripe, the outer skin turns black in various parts; this is when plantains are at their sweetest. Even without a light drizzle of oil or butter to cook them, they caramelize quickly yielding a complex range of sweetness. On their own fried ripe plantains are great, however, sprinkle a little salt on them while very hot, the salt melts into the fried plantains and creates a ridiculously tasty sensation of sweet and salt that makes you want to squeeze your eyes shut, open them wide or rub your hands in glee, all the while pressing the soft plantains to the roof of your mouth, chewing gently. Gosh they are good. It gets even better depending on how caramelized you like your ripe plantains. Fried to a deeper brown, the flavour is more intense; there are some people who like their ripe plantains charred, black, to the point of the outside being burnt. I’ve had plantains that way too, but I find the bitterness from the over caramelization a little too intense for me; if that’s your thing, go for it. It is not only the addition of salt that gives a different taste dimension to fried ripe plantains, so too does a light dusting of ground cinnamon or a squirt of fresh lime or lemon juice.
So, understanding the taste of fried ripe plantains on their own or in combination with things like salt, cinnamon or citrus, you should begin to grasp how well fried ripe plantains will work with other ingredients in a sandwich. Think about it. I have eaten fried ripe plantains with bread before but never in a sandwich – one of my favourite types of pizzas to make, is one with a ripe plantain topping. However, having the fried ripe plantain sandwiched is a very different experience mainly because you are having it in combination with other things that make up the sandwich. And one of the great things about any sandwich is the combination of flavours and textures that you get in one bite.
I got turned on to fried ripe plantains in sandwiches last year when I needed to use up some very ripe plantains. I already had plans to make sandwiches with my homemade pumpkin-rosemary rolls, Brazilian Calabresa sausage, a smear of mayonnaise, tender lettuce and dots of pepper sauce. Originally, I’d plan to eat the plantains on the side but then I thought, what the heck, I put the plantains on top of the lettuce, followed by sausages and pepper sauce, topped with the other half of the cut roll. I halved the sandwich and took a
bite. First, you get the savouriness of the bread and sausage, then the sweetness of the plantains come in and delightfully surprise you; you think to yourself – Oh. My. Goodness! The plantains make the sandwich. It makes you kind of wonder what the sandwich would taste like without the fried ripe plantains, but at the same time you don’t want to know, because it tastes so darn good!
I am not really a sandwich person and what I mean by that is that I enjoy making sandwiches, but it is not one of my go-to things. When eating out, if I order a sandwich or a burger, I completely deconstruct it and eat it in parts rather than as a whole; I don’t know why. I do the same at home too. Just this morning I made myself a roast pork sandwich and halfway through eating it I removed the filling and separated the bread, finishing the sandwich by eating the parts separately. However, whenever I make a sandwich that has fried ripe plantains, I eat it as a whole, go figure.
Make fried ripe plantains a part of your sandwiches, burgers, wraps, panini(s). Here are some ingredients that they pair well with:
● cheese – sliced or as a spread
● ham and other deli meat cuts
● caramelized onions
● roast beef
● roast pork
● roast chicken
● roast turkey
● salmon – cooked or cured
Fried ripe plantains are perfect as a sandwich on their own too with just as a little mayo. Try it.