If you happen to be Latino(a) chances are you are eating tostones a few times per week. Tostones are fried plantains. A food so nice they fry it twice!
Plantains are the nutritional staple of most of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. It’s a subsistence crop that grows all year round. They can be eaten green or ripe. Tostones are made with green plantains. When I was growing up, they were one of the few food items I ate. Yes, I was a picky eater.
Tostones can be eaten as an appetizer or as a side to a main meal.
The taste? Starchy. The texture? Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. Now, depending on where you are from, you might dip them, eat them plain, or just salted. In the Caribbean it’s common to eat them with mojo (pronounced moho). Yes, in Spanish the j has an h sound. Mojo is a citrus sauce made with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. In Panama where I’m from, children and adults like to eat them with ketchup.
Let’s get started
- Probably the hardest thing is peeling the plantain. The skin is a bit thick, so you need to be careful. For starters you want to slice about 1 1/2 ” off each end.
- Next, using a sharp paring knife score all the way down the length of the plantain. Do this in two or three different spots. Pry off the skin and peel.
- Cut into 1″ pieces. Heat enough oil to cover the pieces.
- CAREFULLY remove them from the pan place them on a plate with some paper towels to soak up excess oil.
- On a cutting board covered with plastic wrap, smash the pieces (the bottom of a water glass works well) on the flat side down to 1/2″ thickness.
- Fry them again until golden.
By the way, in Panama for some reason, they call tostones “patacones“. Why? I am not really sure, but all my Latin American friends find this rather amusing.
Tostones with Avocado Cream Sauce
Fried green plantains paired with avocado cream sauce makes a perfect appetizer or side dish. Tostones are a favorite Caribbean and Latin American dish.
- 2 green plantains
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- vegetable oil for frying
Avocado Cream Sauce:
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper fresh
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 Tbsp cilantro chopped
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- To make the avocado cream sauce: Dice avocados, place them in the food processor with all the ingredients. Process on high. The consistency should be creamy. Chill in the refrigerator.
- To make the tostones: Slice off about 1" off each end.
- Score down the length of the plantain with a paring knife. Do this in two separate spots.
- Cut 1" pieces. Fry in enough vegetable oil, to cover the pieces, until they begin to turn golden.
- Remove and drain on paper towel.
- Using the bottom of a glass press down, and sprinkle with salt. Fry again until golden brown.
- Serve immediately with the avocado cream sauce.