Tostones, little fried plantain chips. It seems that everyone in the world had had them but me. I’ve seen them on the food network, heard them spoken of on travel shows and even had friends talk about having them when visiting Puerto Rico. To say the least I’ve been feeling left out. This week my wife set out to change that and I have to admit that I was very excited by the prospect.
The theory here is simple. You cut up a green plantain or three, toss the slices in water to soak, blot ’em dry and fry them for a few minutes. Then you cool ’em, toss ’em back in the water, dry them, squish ’em into chips and fry them again. If you want to get fancy you use a cup shaped Tostonera to press out little plantain bowls to scoop up your condiment of choice with.
Once fried to your choice of perfection, they are sprinkled with a bit of salt and then they can ether be served hot or at room temp. The choice of dips ranges from none to whatever your heart desires. They really are as versitile as a good ol’ potato chip.
In the end I think I’d have to say that the jury s still out for me on these little gems. I wasn’t wowed on the first round, but then again, I’m not saying there’s nothing there to like. I think perhaps I had preconceptions that got in the way. That is something that I’m not OK with, so I’ll be trying these again, with a variety of sauces.
As for the sauce pictured in the top photo, I can’t tell you what was in it except garlic, sofrito and adobo powder. I wish I knew more, but even my wife can’t remember what she put in it. (And I wish she could, it was fan-friggin-tastic!)
But I guess I should get on to giving you a recipe, huh?
- 3 green plantains
- 4 cups water
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (optional)
- 2 tbsp. salt
- Lard or vegetable oil for frying
- Peel plantains and cut into diagonal slices approximately 1 inch thick. Add garlic and salt to water in a large bowl. Soak slices for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Drain plantain slices well and fry in a deep fryer or in a large skillet heated filled approximately 1/2 full with oil heated to 350°F for about 7 minutes, turning if necessary.
- Remove from fryer and drain on absorbent paper. Fold paper over and pound the plantain slices flat with the palm of the hand, or use a Tostonera press. (I could not find our particualr press, but I did find the flat version on Amazon. You can get the Imusa Small Wood Tostonera there for about $4.99)
- Dip in salted water again and remove immediately. Drain thoroughly on paper towels.
- Return to oil heated to 375°F until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on absorbant paper to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
I think maybe they should have been a bit thinner. I also think that now that I’ve had a taste I won’t have the experience muddled by preconceptions. That would be good, because I think these little gems deserve a chance.
Links to other recipes like this:
- Plantain Tostones, from Karma-Free Cooking