I am the whitest girl ever BUT I went to Miami (Florida, not Ohio!) for college and while I was there I developed a deep, unquenchable love for Cuban food. I also bagged myself a Cuban guy, and thus Cuban in-laws to teach me how to cook my favorite of all Cuban side dishes - tostones.
"What the hell are tostones?" you may be wondering. Well, tostones are green plantains (they look like bananas but are much more starchy and dense) that have been fried not once, but twice. *drool* They're crispy and starchy and smushy and salty and heavenly. (And they're vegan if you're into that!)
Here's a pic of the finished product
And here's a tute!
Ok, so I'm more of a "cook it 'til it looks done" kind of girl, than a "cook exactly 2.8 minutes" kind of girl, so if this is too vague I totally apologize! Just ask questions if you have them and if I have to go buy more plantains and make more tostones, well I'll just take one for the team.
You need:Cooking oil
(regular old vegetable or canola oil is good, I wouldn't use olive oil, personally)GREEN plantains
(You don't want brown/ripe plantains for this! Those are for maduros which is an whole 'nother thing)Salt
"Tools": Skillet, plate, paper towels, a small cup (or something else to smush with).
That's it, three ingredients! I usually prepare one plantain at a time. It's enough for two people for a big side and it was enough for my entire breakfast this morning after I took these pictures First, peel and cut your plantain
I cut down one side and cut of a tiny bit of one end and then peel similar to a banana.
Like this or preferably even greener
You should cut them into roughly 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices. DON'T cut them on the diagonal, again that's for maduros, which are different!Then, put oil in your skillet
I try to put in an amount that I think will go about 1/3 to 1/2 way up the pieces. Using a smaller pan means using less oil, but more batches, so it's up to you. Heat oil on medium heat
I like to put a little end piece in to tell me if it's hot enough or not. You want the oil to be bubbling around the plantain pieces, but you don't want it popping up in your face! Don't start a grease fire just for tostones!!Add plantains and cook each side until bright yellow
A minute or two I guess on each side. In the second picture, half of them have been flipped. You want that brighter yellow colorOnce they are cooked, place them on some paper towels on a plate
Turn your oven off and let those plantains chill a second. Smush those suckers
Once your plantain pieces are a little cooler, you're gonna smush 'em. I used my cafecito cup but I'd suggest just using a regular flat bottomed glass cup or, if you're fancy, a tostone smusher
(that's the technical term dontchaknow.). When I smushed mine, the edges were still mostly in tact. It's actually better if they're a little more... frayed? smushed? If the edges aren't totally solid, they fry up crispier.
(Cafecito cups are a good size)
Here's one smushed and one not for comparison. I could actually have smushed that one a little more.
I went to a Cuban restaurant recently where they smashed the hell out of their tostones. They were really flat and really crunchy. So that's an option if you like it, but... I don't. Heat up your oil again and fry!
Because they're now a bigger diameter, you can't get as many into the oil, so you will probably need to do more than one batch. You're going to cook these again, cooking each side. You're looking for a more translucent edge this time. I'd say maybe 3 minutes? I don't like them to be too brown, but I'm a habitual undercooker. Especially the first time I make tostones after a big break... I'm too excited to eat them and pull them too soon!
Here's a comparison of the ones I've cooked for the second time (front) and the ones waiting to go into the pan (back)When done, place them on paper towels and salt for all you're worth!
You want to salt them while they're still hot so that the salt sticks better. It'd be hard to salt them too much in my opinion! But other people have different tastes, so salt as desired.
And you may notice that there's a big empty spot on the plate? Yea.. I couldn't wait.
You can also make a dipping sauce by mincing garlic and adding olive oil. The boy says it's better if you let it sit overnight so that the garlic infuses the oil a little more. (I'll have to add pictures later, I was too excited for plain tostones this morning!)
So that's a LOT of words for a really easy recipe!