Over the recent Fourth of July holiday weekend, we made a trip up to the Westside Market in Cleveland. Among the many treasures I found there (cultured, goat milk, and Irish butters!), I came home with three nice plantains. I love plantains and order them whenever we go to a Caribbean restaurant. We have cooked with them before, but this time I decided I wanted to try my hand a tostones — twice-fried plantain chips.
Generally, tostones recipes call for green plantains. The starchy green fruits are perfect for frying into crisp chips. The plantains I bought were just a bit on the yellow side, but I decided to use them anyway.
I looked up some recipes and decided to do a mash-up of several that looked good. The soaker comes from Alton Brown, and he seems to have taken quite a bit of flack from people who say it’s not authentic. (Interestingly, there are at least as many people who say his method is absolutely authentic.) I wasn’t that concerned with how other people’s grandmother’s did or didn’t make their tostones; I just wanted them to be tasty.
And they were. Here is the recipe I came up with.
- 3 – 4 green or slightly yellow plantains
- oil for frying
- 2 cups water
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed or chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus extra for seasoning
- juice of 1 lime
- Heat oil in large pan. The oil should be at least 2 inches deep. (I used my Fry Daddy out in the backyard to keep the house from smelling like fried food.)
- Slice the ends off the plantains. Score the plantains lengthwise, then remove the skins. Cut the plantains into 3/4-inch thick slices.
- Combine water, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and lime juice in a bowl. Set aside.
- Fry plantains slices in the hot oil for 3 minutes, until they are golden and slightly soft. Don’t overcrowd the pan; the slices should be able to float in a single layer on top of the oil.
- Remove the slices to paper towels. Allow to drain and cool while you start frying the next batch of plantains. When the fried slices are cool enough to handle, place the slices an inch or so apart on a piece of wax paper. Cover with another sheet of wax paper and flatten the plantain slices into thin rounds.
- Put the flattened slices in the water mixture and allow to soak for at least 1 minute. Remove to paper towels and pat dry.
- Fry the flattened slices for 3 minutes, until crisp and golden brown.
- Drain on paper towels. Salt to taste and serve warm or cold.
Serves 4 – 5.
These were savory and delicious plain, but were especially good with mango salsa. They make a great appetizer. They can be topped with salsa or other toppings, or served with a dip.