Roasting plantains with the skin on ensures that their delicate sweetness deepens and their flesh won’t dry out, but will remain fork-tender. Use firm, ripe, or mid-ripe plantains for best results and optimal flavors—a hint of roasted sugarcane and caramel will build within them as they slowly cook. A piquant dressing of earthy cumin and fresh limes curbs the sweetness of the plantains with an acidic bite. Serve this as a snack or as a simple side to a meal. Double the dressing ingredients to serve with a grain salad or a few cups of leafy greens.
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Leaving the plantains whole with their skin on, cut each plantain in half down the middle, lengthwise.
- Place the plantains on a baking sheet, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Roast until the plantains are tender and a skewer or knife inserted goes all the way through, about 40 minutes. Broil for 4 additional minutes to lightly brown the surface.
- While the plantains roast, in a small bowl, combine the cumin, honey, lime zest, juice, and cracked black pepper. Whisk ingredients together, and stir in the olive oil. Add in the minced shallots, and season with salt and black pepper.
- To serve, peel the skin off the roasted plantains, spoon the vinaigrette over the top, and garnish with a scattering of cilantro leaves.
Yewande Komolafe is a writer, recipe developer and food stylist from Lagos, Nigeria. She develops recipes that lend taste and texture to her experience as an immigrant in the United States. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, daughter and many jars of spices.