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Plantains are like bananas, but different

The plantain is a type of banana, longer and thicker-skinned than regular bananas, and has natural brown spots and rough areas on the skin. Because they are usually starchy rather than sweet, plantains make wonderful vegetable dishes -- mashed, broiled, baked, or sauteed. They should be cooked before reaching full ripeness. The most common way to serving is to remove the skin, cut the fruit lengthwise into slices about 1/2 inch thick, and saute until they are a deep golden brown. Try them this way with eggs for brunch.

Or bake ripe plantains in a moderate oven until tender and add a little honey and melted sweet butter.

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