This recipe balances sweet plantains, which are cooked to crispy perfection, with rich, tangy black beans (cooked using lime juice and Mexican crema), and a refreshing pico de gallo to create the ultimate combination of sweet, salty, and savory flavors.
Drain the beans. In a large pot, combine them with the garlic, bay leaf, and paprika. Peel and halve one of the onions, stick a clove into each half, and add those to the pot, too. Cover with the water and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for another 60 to 90 minutes, until the beans are tender and creamy. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid, then drain. Remove, and discard the onion and bay leaf.
Put the lime juice and crema in a food processor, followed by the beans. Puree until smooth; if it’s too dry, add the reserved cooking liquid ¼ cup at a time.
Finely chop the tomatoes and remaining white onion; you should have about 2 cups tomatoes and ¾ cup onion. Toss the tomatoes, onion, and serrano with ½ teaspoon salt, and let drain in a colander while you prepare everything else.
Cut the plantains on a bias, into ¼- to ½-inch slices, and toss them to coat with the chili powder, cumin, pepper, and remaining 1 tsp salt. Heat the oil in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat, and, when it’s shimmering, add the plantain slices in a single layer. Cook without disturbing them for about 2 minutes; when they’ve got a deeply browned crust, flip and cook for 2 more minutes.
Toast the tortillas over medium-high heat, directly over each burner, until the edges are charred on both sides. Use the back of a spoon to spread a thin layer of the black bean purée over the whole tortilla, then top with a few slices of plantain, pico de gallo, and queso fresco.