Chef Jose Enrique throws the sweet plantains that are essential to any Puerto Rican meal on the grill with smoky eggplants to delicious results: Once grilled, the eggplants are treated like baked potatoes, filled with crème fraîche and chives, while the charred plantains are served alongside. It's a unique combo for your next cookout.
The key to grilling plantains is putting them on a cooler part of the grill. This allows the sugars inside to caramelize. Once the plantains split open with bubbling sugar, you know they’re done.
To learn more, read “Rico Suave.”
Grilled Plantains and Eggplants
Recipe adapted from Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique, San Juan, PR
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
For the Grilled Plantains:
2 large (2 pounds) ripe, skin-on plantains
For the Grilled Eggplants:
4 small (1¼ pounds) eggplants
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, to taste
Aluminum foil, for grilling
4 tablespoons lemon juice
Crème fraîche, for garnish
Toasted black sesame seeds, for garnish
Thinly sliced chives, for garnish
1. Light a grill. Place the plantains on the coolest part of the grill. Grill, turning often, until the sugar starts to bubble out of its skin and the plantains start splitting open, 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the eggplants: In a large bowl, toss the whole eggplants with ¼ cup of olive oil and season with salt. Wrap each eggplant individually with foil and place on the grill with the plantains. Grill, turning frequently, until tender, 20 minutes.
3. Transfer the eggplants and plantains to a cutting board. Remove the foil from the eggplants and use a knife to slice lengthwise halfway through each. Fill each incision with ½ tablespoon of the remaining olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, and season with salt. Garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkle of toasted black sesame seeds and chives. Peel open the plantains and slice into ½-inch-thick pieces on a bias. Season with salt, then serve.