I've been on a bit of a Latin food kick, but what's pernil or Cubanos without a good side? Maduros or tostones fit the bill nicely on any normal day, but if the coals are still hot, why not take those plantains to the grill?
I underestimated the natural sweetness of my ripened, black plantains. They caramelized and charred almost the second they hit the medium-high heat. Luckily I had a two-zone fire going and was able to quickly move them over to the cool side of the grill to finish cooking, basting them with a mixture of brown sugar, orange juice, honey and cilantro as they reached a nice tenderness.
Off the grill I was little worried that char would equate to burnt, but my fears were unfounded as the plantains were nothing but warm, sweet slices of deliciousness. They ended up being the perfect side for some perfect meat.
Grilled Plantains with Brown Sugar Glaze
Adapted from Bobby Flay
- 4 very ripe plantains, peeled and sliced on the bias 1/2-inch thick
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
- Freshly ground pepper
- Type of fire: two-zone indirect
- Grill heat: medium-high
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, orange juice, honey and cilantro. Set aside.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Brush the plantains with the oil and place on the hot side of the grill until caramelized on both sides, about 30 seconds to 2 minutes per side.
Move the plantains to the cool side of the grill, brush all over with the with the brown sugar mixture. Cover and continue to cook until plantains are completely soft, but not mushy, about 2 to 5 minutes more. Remove from the grill, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.