Tostones ( Fried Plantains) | Lunch
If you are not accustomed to working with plantains, you should know that there are no bad plantains. (Okay, the mouldy ones are probably too far gone.) When they are green and somewhat hard, they can be fried as tostones (fritters) or plantain chips, or baked and mashed like potatoes. Just about anything that you might want to do with potato can be done with a plantain. When the skin turns to yellow-brown, they can be sautéed and served as a side dish that combines a fruity sweetness with the starchiness of a potato. When they are black, plantains make some marvellous desserts.
4 plantains, yellow-green and somewhat hard Oil for frying Sea salt Chipotle Ketchup, Pico de Gallo, or prepared salsa
To peel the plantains, remove the top and bottom with a sharp paring knife. Cut long slits down the plantain just deep enough to go through the peel. You may prefer to cut the plantain into halves or thirds before trying to peel it. Heat ½ inch of oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. (If you have a thermometer or are using a fryer, adjust to 350°.) Cut the plantains into 1-inch slices. Fry the plantains in a single layer, turning once, for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove the plantains to a paper towel and drain. Flatten the plantain slices using the flat side of a meat mallet (what are you going to do with it now, anyway?) or a small, heavy pan. The flattened slices should be about ½ inch thick. If the plantains crumble when flattening, they are not cooked enough and should be refried, roasted, or microwaved until they become a little softer. Return the slices to the skillet or fryer, and fry until golden brown and crispy. Season with sea salt. Reserve in a warm oven or serve immediately with Chipotle Ketchup, Pico de Gallo, or prepared salsa. Makes 4 to 6 servings.