I recently made tostones and posted some of the pictures on Facebook. Several friends responded with a request for the recipe. Here it is!
First, a language lesson. The appropriate singular form of tostones is tostón, not tostone (pronounced toston-eh). I’ve heard people, including high profile TV chefs, mispronounce it all the time. It grates on me. And I’ll be damned if I let a single tostón go the way of the tamale!
Thank you. Now let’s begin.
Start with very, very green plantains. In fact, it’s pretty critical for the unique flavor of these Latin-Caribbean delights that the plantains not show any signs of ripening, such as yellow spots (even a dulled green), or feeling soft when squeeze-tested. Green plantains are now relatively easy to find at most grocery stores.
Trim off the ends. Using a dull kitchen knife, run a lengthwise line down the middle, and peel. You will notice the skin is quite hard and heavy on sap. But a dull knife does the trick very well, and it’s a lot safer than a sharp knife given that it will take a bit of elbow grease to get this part done. Don’t be surprised if your fingers end up heavily stained from the sap. (It’s worth it!) Cut each plantain into 2-inch rounds.
Preheat a frying pan with about 2 inches’ worth of your preferred high-heat frying oil to medium high. Fry the rounds in batches (to avoid overcrowding them) for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, and drain.
Flatten the rounds. I use the bottom of a plate against a cutting board. It’s best if the plate has a flat bottom, no rim. Once flattened, the rounds start to look like tostones. You may need a knife to unstick the flattened tostón from the bottom of the plate. Fry them a second time for 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Drain them on a fresh piece of paper towel. Sprinkle both sides of the tostones with salt the instant they come out out of the hot oil.
You’ll realize right away that you can’t make these without needing to taste test the first one(s) to come out. The challenge is to not eat them all before the rest of dinner is ready to be served.
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes. Two plantains make about 1 dozen tostones.
- 2 very green plantains
- oil for frying
- Preheat about 2 inches’ worth of oil in a shallow pan to medium high
- Trim the ends off each plantain, and peel with a dull knife
- Cut each plantain into 2-inch rounds (about 6 per plantain)
- Working in batches, fry each round for 3 to 4 minutes per side
- Drain and flatten using a flat-bottomed plate on a hard, flat surface
- Fry a second time for 3 to 4 minutes per side
- Drain and sprinkle each side with salt
- (Serving these with homemade guacamole –recipe available– is optional, and highly recommended)