Spicy, salty, crispy, crunchy. Plantain chips are just what we want in a snack, and this baked version is one we could happily munch on practically every day. The key to the perfect crunch? It's all about picking the right plantains.
Our first attempts at plantain chips were somewhat disastrous. Most of them burned and no amount of oil could keep them from sticking to the pan and falling apart when we tried to pry them off. Turns out, we were using the wrong plantains.
We're used to reaching for the riper yellow versions with plenty of black spots on the peel. These are great for grilling in a pan or frying. But sweet and juicy is not what you need in a plantain for chips. The less-ripe green fruit are much firmer. They can hold up to the heat even in a thin slice and provide the perfect crunch in chip form.
Start by removing the peel with a knife. Yellow plantains are pretty easy to peel by hand, but green ones are much tougher. With a knife, you may not get perfectly round slices, but you also won't end up with uncomfortable bits of peel jammed under your fingernails. Trust us on this one.
It's important to make the slices as uniform as possible, so use a mandoline if you have one. The slicing wheel of a food processor would probably work too.
Feel free to play around with the flavorings. This blend is pretty spicy, but you could easily tone it down or try other combinations. We experimented with minced garlic and grated ginger but found that they burned well before the chips were cooked, so we'd recommend sticking with dry flavorings. Another use for garlic powder, perhaps?
Spicy Baked Plantain Chips
2 green plantains
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Remove plantain peel with a knife. Thinly slice using a mandoline, if possible.
In a bowl, toss plantain slices with olive oil, spices and salt. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, turning slices after about 8 minutes. Watch closely after turning - they can burn quickly. Remove from oven and serve.
Chips are best eaten immediately, but they'll keep for about a day.
(Images: Joanna Miller)