Mom tricked the produce manager every week. She would find the worst looking banana (a/k/a plantain) in the produce section.
Then she would find the manager and complain about the price. She would whine that it was so bad, it was practically rotten, he had better sell it to her right away. Then she would haggle that she had to feed her family.
He would finally relent and allow my Mom to take it home for just about nothing. The produce manager didn’t realize that the more bruised the banana, the sweeter it becomes. He was convinced it was a rotten plátano.
For certain dishes, you want to buy the plátano that is so ripe, that the skin is practically black. The ripe banana is one that has a softer texture that contains more sugar.
The item is already economical. Combined with Mom’s shopping technique, it landed us the highest quality plátanos, at the lowest price! It was a great lesson in finance for me – you can’t get a bargain unless you ask for it!
Eventually someone tipped off the manager to Mom’s rotten plátano discount. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. My Mom and the manager laughed about it many times after that.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you rotten plátanos, make dinner and invite Mom over.
There are good recipes for “rotten plátanos” a/k/a/ plátanos maduros (sweet fried plantains). Here’s one that you might enjoy:
Plátanos Maduros Recipe
1 very ripe plantain with black skin
Canola or corn oil
Optional: fresh lime; recaito; sofrito
Heat enough oil in a skillet so that the oil is about ¼ of an inch deep. Peel the black skin from the plantain and slice it diagonally into rounds that are about ½ inch thick. When a drop of water sizzles in the oil, add the plantain slices and cook until the bottom is golden brown. Turn over each slice and cook until both sides are evenly golden, with a hint of caramelization on the edges. Remove from oil and transfer to paper towels to drain; pat off any excess oil. Serve hot. Squeeze some fresh lime juice on them if you desire.
Hi Candi, I have to comment on this one. Plantains are my favorite thing. My dad and I used to have some Cuban friends who would come over and eat and drink and visit every week. At least twice a month we would have white rice, black beans, and plantains. We would cut them up into 1/2″ slices and fry them a little on each side. Next, we’d gently smash each of them between some saran wrap and fry them again to perfection. The kicker here was the sauce! OMG, it’s truly amazing if you like garlic as much as I do…anyway, simply mince A LOT of garlic (1/4-1/2 cup at least) and put in olive oil (1.5-2 cups) with a little basil, oregano, or something along those likes that you like. The flavor combinations are so memorable, that even after 20 years, I still remember it so well I can taste it. Hope you get a chance to try this and I will try your mom’s trick with the produce guy the next time plantains are a little riper. Thanks for the great story, I hope you enjoyed mine. 🙂