Tostones (Twice-Fried Green Plantains)
Tostones are delicious. A wonderful appetizer; they also make a great side dish to accompany any meal. Tostones are fried twice for extra crispness. Even though they are deep fried, perfect tostones will be dry to the taste almost like a cracker. The secrets to making good tostones are to use the greenest plantains you can find and to make sure the oil you use is clean and hot. This way they absorb very little of the oil and the delicate flavor of the plantain is enhanced.
Yield: about 2 dozen tostones
- 3 large green plantains
- vegetable oil for frying
- salt or garlic salt
- Remove peels from the plantains.
- Cut each plantain into about eight 1½-inch thick slices.
- In a deep fryer or in a deep heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil to 350°, or until a plantain sizzles when it hits the oil.
- Carefully drop a small batch of the plantain rounds (6-8 pieces) into the oil and fry about 2 minutes.
- Drain on paper towels.
- While the plantains are still warm, place them one at a time between a couple thicknesses of heavy paper, (a lunch-size brown paper bag is ideal), and flatten them gently but firmly with the heel of your hand until they are about a half inch thick.
- Return the tostones to the hot oil and fry them a second time for 2 minutes more or until they are golden and crispy.
- Drain them again on paper towels, sprinkle with salt and serve.
Tostones are best right out of the pan, but if you must, you can set them aside until serving time and reheat them for about 5 minutes in a warm oven. Our mojo criollo — » Recipe » Video — makes a wonderful dipping sauce for tostones.
HELPFUL HINT — Getting the peel off of a really green fresh plantain can be a difficult and time consuming task, especially if you’ve never attempted it before. First, fill your sink or a large bowl with a few inches of very hot water. Next, cut both ends off of a plantain, and make 3 or 4 lengthwise slashes through the plantain’s skin with a sharp knife careful to cut through the peel, but not into the plantain itself. Then drop it into the hot water and allow it to soak for a minute. Repeat with each plantain. Now, remove a plantain from the water, and begin removing the peel by inserting your thumb into one of the scored areas and lifting the peel — they will come off easily.
Note: Peeling plantains can stain your fingers. To avoid staining your fingers, wear a plastic glove or remove the peel under water.
SHORTCUT — Making tostones from scratch requires time and a little planning. That’s why I like to keep some partially prepared tostones on hand in the freezer so I can prepare them in a hurry. I’ve had very good luck freezing tostones at home. Peel and prepare the tostones as above, fry them once, mash them and let them cool. Then spread them on a pan in layers separated by wax paper and put them in the freezer. When the tostones are firm, you can put them in a plastic freezer bag and store them for months. Then, when you want some tostones, take out only as many as you need and finish them by resuming preparation at step 7 above.
VARIATION — Copas de Tostones (Fried Plantain Cups) — For a very special appetizer, shape tostones into cups and fill them with a bit of meat or seafood . Your guests will all want to know how you made them. Plantains are pared as above and fried once, but instead of pressing the plantain flat, it’s shaped into a cup. Specially designed tostoneras that make this job easy are available at Hispanic specialty food stores or on the web. Before these were widely available, I made these cups by placing the fried plantain piece into a small demitasse cup and then pressing the bottom of a shot glass into it.