I’ve kind of been on a Caribbean kick the last week or so and the other day I can across some really nice looking plantains at my local grocery store. My wife loves plantain chips so I decided that I would whip up a batch of tostones for her to try. Like plantain chips, tostones are fried, but they tend to be thicker and often are just a bit soft in the center. Personally, I prefer tostones over plantain chips any time.
You will find lots of recipes that say that the plantains must be completely green to make authentic tostones. That may be the case, but I’ve found that I prefer a hint of sweetness in my tostones so I look for plantains that are just a few days from being fully ripe.
Tostones are very easy to make but they do require a double frying, something you see often in Caribbean cooking, especially in Cuban cuisine. First peel the plantains. This can be somewhat difficult if your plantains are still very green as the skin wants to adhere to the flesh. Once peeled slice the plantains into 1 1/2 -2″ chunks. Deep fry these chunks in 300°F vegetable oil for about 3-4 minutes.
They will be lightly browned and have started to soften. Drain on paper towel and allow to cool.
Once cool, place each plantain chunk between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and gently smash them. To do this I usually use a small saute pan. Don’t slam the pan down, on top of the plantains, like you are tenderizing meat, or you will smash it into oblivion. I just place the pan on top and press down to flatten them.
Once the plantains have all been flattened, return them to the deep fryer set at about 350°F and fry until golden brown and crispy around the edges, about 4-5 minutes. Don’t overcrowd your pan. I usually do 3-4 at a time. Remove, drain on paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
I usually serve these with a traditional mojo sauce (a citrusy, garlicky sauce native to Cuba). This simple sauce takes about 5 minutes to make and is a great accompaniment to the tostones.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lime juice**
1/3 cup orange juice**
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Gently heat the olive oil until warm. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Add to the olive oil, bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. This sauce is best served the same day as it is made, though it can be stored for up to a week in the fridge.
**Note: Traditionally, the juice of the sour orange would be used, but they are difficult to find here in the middle of Wisconsin. If you can find them then replace both the lime and orange juice with an equal amount of juice from the sour oranges.