[FOOD] The Plantain Provocateur

The plantain is the unsung hero of gourmet simplicity. I remember the first time I had raw sweet plantain. It tasted like those tiny bananas that flourish in Caribbean backyards. But we take plantains for granted, snagging bags from bodega shelves, ravaging those sweet and dry slabs with our Jamaican, Haitian and Cuban rice and bean platters. They co-star on most Caribbean dishes offering a sweet or earthy bite to oxtail stew, curry shrimp and lambi (Haitian conch stew). But plantains lead a double life. If you fry them up and lather them with Nutella, they become chocolate plantain paradise. Add a scoop of passion fruit, sour sop, avocado or my special Voilà Instant Cinnamon Ice Cream, and you become the sadistic plantain provocateur who transformed the passé chocolate heart into naughty Nutella ecstasy.     

Chocolate Plantain Ice Cream Sundae

  • Choose über-ripe, bruised plantains with mottled black and yellow skin (The blacker, the better, but do not choose spoiled plantains).
  • Cut 2 peeled ripe plantains into 1-inch pieces.
  • Fry them in 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over high heat until the edges are crisp and caramelized.
  • Process them with 2 to 3 tablespoons of Nutella in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  • Serve in ramekins or wine glasses with Voilà Instant Cinnamon Ice Cream (below)
  • Garnish with cinnamon stick or rosemary sprig.
  • Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Voilà Instant Cinnamon Ice Cream:

  • One cup of your favorite vanilla ice cream
  • Add one teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Add a dash of nutmeg (optional)
  • Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl 

Dinkinish O’Connor is an award-winning writer. Her food sojourns have taken her everywhere from the shanty town bistros of Kingston to the gnarly vineyards of Bordeaux. She has written for Wine Spectator, Condé Nast Traveler, The Miami Herald and other publications. Dinkinish received her sommelier certification and hosts innovative wine tastings. To see what’s happening in Dinkinish’s sumptuous, little world, check out, “Gourmet Squatter,” a blog that explores how to sip high on a low budget.