Side Dishes: Plantains, Grilled Chicken and Fried Cheese

As I’m making dinner there are some highlights to a meal, the main dish and then there are the extras that just make it.

So far, I made the Pico De Gallo, Gallo Pinto, then stuffed them into peppers. I needed a few additions to this already yummy meal So I made Platanos Maduros, Grilled Chicken Breast and Fried Cheese with Tortillas. Here are those simple recipes.

Grilled Platanos Maduros:
* 3-4 Plantains, preferanly dark and bruisy.
* Butter / Oil for pan (I use less and a non-stick grill)

First you have to buy almost the blackest of the bananas. I know it seems icky, but these are sweeter and softer and grill better. I cut the plantains with a small sharp knife cut ends from each plantain and halve crosswise. Cut a lengthwise slit through skin along inside curve. Beginning in center of slit pry skin from plantain and with rippled blade of a mandoline or decorating knife cut flesh crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices.

On a flat grill or large deep skillet heat the oil or butter to 350°F and fry 12 to 15 plantain slices at a time, turning them, 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden, transferring as fried with a skimmer or slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Season plantain slices with salt. (Plantain slices should be slightly crisp on outside but soft on inside.)

Grilled Chicken:

* 2-3 Chicken Breasts, cut in halves
* Ground Cumin
* Cayenne Pepper
* Olive oil
* Sea Salt
* Lemon Pepper
* Lemon (couple wedges)

I like to marinate my chicken for a few minutes while getting the grill ready. I use a non-stick grill pan. I cut the breasts in large chunks to cook faster but not so small that they cook too fast and lose the tenderness. I try to cook one side so that the meat is cooked about half way through before flipping over. After the chicken is thoroughly cooked. I remove and chop up fajita style.


Fried Cheese and Tortillas:

Although I didn’t make the cheese or tortillas, getting the right additions is everything. For the Fry-able cheese you have to go to a Mexican Grocery store and ask for Queso Para Freir. It is a harder cheese that will grill nicely. Leave it too long in the pan and it will melt away.

I got my cheese here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/san-francisco-farmers-market-san-francisco#hrid:98ig2fmUHxH6uJJpS24Hlg

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