March 31, 2014 Leave your thoughts
Plantains are completely under-appreciated in this country, and I think it’s time for a change. They may not be as gooey and sweet as their coveted yellow cousins, but with a little love, plantains are magical in their own special way.
In my Oven-Fried Chicken post, I talked about some of the reasons why I don’t like frying. In this recipe, however, I do.
Because of their starchiness (and absence of fat), plantains don’t splatter and spew as soon as they hit the pan. They always brown beautifully and don’t need cups and cups of oil, and best of all, they come out salty, crispy, and absolutely satisfying every. Time.
That’s if you fry them twice, of course.
The trick to Tostones–a classic Latin American and Caribbean side dish–is to fry the plantains not once, but TWICE. In between the two rounds of frying, you pound the still-warm plantains with a mallet (or your hands) so they become big and flat, then back into the oil they go for a final crunchy finish.
If you’re nervous about all of the oil you’re using, don’t worry! By using coconut oil–which has a high smoke point–you avoid the high Omega-6 content of the traditional seed oils for frying. The plantains also won’t absorb all of the oil: using three long green plantains, I still had well over half a cup left. In any case, these are a special treat…and I guarantee there will be no leftovers after you put these on the table.
Are you ready to make these insanely-awesome bites of heaven? I sure am! You’ll only need four ingredients to get started.
Using a small, sharp knife, cut slits all of the way down each plantain, taking care to NOT cut through the plantain’s flesh. Peel the slices of skin off of the plantain to reveal the starchy yellow interior.
Cut each plantain on the diagonal to make about 3/4-inch slices.
Meanwhile, heat enough coconut oil (or other heat-stable oil) to cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet with about 1/2-inch of oil. (When you put the plantain slices in, the oil should come up about half of the way up the side.) Once the oil sizzles, add in 1/3 of the plantain slices, and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned on the side facing down.
Flip the plantains over to the other side and cook for another 2 minutes, or until lightly browned on that side, too.
Remove the plantain slices from the oil to a thick layer of paper towels and repeat the same procedure with the rest of the plantains. You should have two more batches to go.
They may look tasty enough to eat at this point, but I wouldn’t recommend it! They’ll still be super tough on the inside and not very appetizing.
Now for the fun part. Rip off two large pieces of wax paper and put one slice of plantain between the two. Using a mallet (or your hand), squish the plantain as much as possible until it’s very thin, but thick enough that it’ll hold together. Peel the wax paper away and set the squished plantain slice aside; repeat with the rest of the plantains.
Reheat the oil until it sizzles, then add 1/4 of the plantain slices back into the oil. Cook until brown on one side (only about a minute), then flip over to the other side and fry again until brown. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with the rest of the squished plantain slices.
Immediately season the hot plantains with salt and freshly-squeezed lime juice. Serve right away for optimal crispiness!
What is your favorite kind of chip? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!