Plantains and bananas both belong to the same genus, Musa. Although they share many similarities, they are used in very different ways. Plantains have tough skins and are starchier and less sweet than bananas, making them perfect for savory dishes. Bananas have thinner skins that are easy to peel. They can be cooked, but more often bananas are eaten raw. Depending on your mood -- and your menu -- you can bake a plantain or a banana for a savory side or sweet treat.
Cut off the tops and ends of the plantains.
Run the tip of the knife along the skin, being careful not to cut through the flesh.
Peel the skin off the plantains.
Thinly slice the plantains, making sure each slice is the same size so that they will cook evenly.
Toss the slices with 2 tbsp. of the canola oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Bake in an oven set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit until crispy, about 30 to 35 minutes. Flip the plantain pieces halfway through so that each side becomes golden brown.
Cut the bananas in half lengthwise, leaving the skin on.
Place the bananas, skin side up, on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each half with brown sugar and chopped walnuts.
Bake the bananas in an oven set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit until soft, but not falling apart. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
Baked plantain chips are delicious on their own, but they also pair well with chimichurri sauce. Baked bananas are best served warm. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt for contrasting temperatures.