A while back, my friend Johnny from Eating For Idiots and I had a cooking day and came up with a recipe for cilantro-lime chicken with ranchero sauce on plantain tostadas. Long story short, the tostadas were pretty much an accident, due to the ripeness of the plantains I had: Green plantains are great for making chips or tostones, and ripe plantains are great for mashed plantains or used for baking. The ones I had were yellow; not quite ripe, not quite green. But it turns out they were perfect for this
accident invention: Plantain tostadas!
When I decided to make fajitas with the grassfed flat iron I got at the farmers market this week, I knew I wanted to give it a coffee rub and grill it, but I wasn’t sure about the wrapper. Classic paleo problem, right? Lettuce leaves are always a good option, but let’s face it: They’re not a tortilla. Jicama is one of my favorites, but a bit of a mess with juicy fillings; better as a crispy taco shell than a stand-in for a flour tortilla. Cauliflower tortillas are delicious, and what I planned to go with on this occasion, until I got to the store and saw the yellow plantains. I wasn’t sure how they’d hold up; I wanted a tortilla that folded without breaking and was sturdy enough to hold the hearty fajita fillings. But I also wanted them to be soft like a homemade corn or flour tortilla. The result?
Not only do these bad boys fold,
The process is a little bit messy, but extremely simple:
Everything gets pureed in the food processor and then baked in the oven.
The tortilla batter is dropped onto a baking sheet, about 2 tablespoons each.
A ladle is used to spread out the batter about half way.
Once they’re about half the size they need to be, wet fingers are used to get them as thin as possible
Four will fit on a standard baking sheet, so you may have to cook them in batches. They reheat well, so making ahead is a good option!
Once they’re all cooked, they can be grilled or slightly charred on a gas flame. Or just eaten as-is! They were perfect for our fajita spread, and I have a feeling will become a part of our regular rotation. If I was packing kids’ lunches, these would definitely be making an appearance!
Plantain Tortillas(makes 12 5″ tortillas)
3 large or 4 small yellow plantains, about 2-2.5 pounds before peeling *
1/3 cup egg whites (about 2 eggs worth)
3 tablespoons lard or coconut oil, melted (I highly recommend lard if you have it!)
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 350.
- Peel and chop your plantains and place in a food processor.
- Puree until somewhat pureed, and then add the melted lard, egg whites, salt and lime juice.
- Puree until smooth.
- Drop about 2 tablespoons at a time onto a baking sheet lined with a lightly greased sheet of parchment paper, 4 per standard baking sheet (spaced as shown above)
- Smooth into a circle with the bottom of a ladle, getting as thin as possible, switching to wet fingers once the ladle stops being efficient.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until dry to the touch, and just starting to brown on the edges.
* There are two types of plantains I’ve seen regularly in stores:
The more common are the larger ones, that look like bananas, and there are also shorter, fatter ones that are somewhat triangular. I tried this recipe with both, using 3 of the larger, more common kind, and 4 of the shorter, fatter ones. The recipe worked great both times. Since it’s not a baked good, and the starch in the plantains are a good part of what makes this recipe work, the measurement doesn’t need to be 100% exact. I’m guessing that the color of the plantain does have a lot to do with the outcome, though; green will not puree smoothly when raw, and if it’s gotten more brown than yellow, it will likely turn the tortilla quite sweet.
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