I’ve been following Matt’s blog for a few years and love his style not to mention his beautiful food photographs and recipes. My first introduction to plantains was when I lived in Singapore (11 years ago) and my Puerto Rican friend invited me along with other women to sample her gourmet feast. It was here I tasted Conchita’s, Canoas de Plátano Amarillo con Queso (ripe plantain stuffed with feta, cream cheese, onion and broccoli and baked in the oven in a wine bath). These were delicious and I vowed to make these but never did. When I saw Matt’s recipe for plantains it brought back fond food memories from my time in Singapore.
Plantains (staple in the Latin Caribbean diet) are a type of banana that contain less sugar than yellow bananas. They are not suitable for eating raw unless they are very ripe. Plantains are good sources of vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. They can be stewed, mashed, grilled, fried, or boiled. Although plantains can be prepared many different ways, tostones is the quickest and easiest. It’s a perfect recipe for beginners.
3 large green plantains
canola or vegetable oil for frying
For the Mojo:
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
Put crushed garlic and a pinch of salt into a mortar and crush into a paste. Add the chopped cilantro and crush a little bit more. Add the oil to the garlic, salt and cilantro and continue to mix to incorporate. Once mixed, put into a bowl and set aside.
Remove the skin from the plantain. It can be tough to remove, try slicing both ends off and making a slit with the knife the length of the plantain. With your thumb, wedge it between the flesh and peel and remove the skin. Once the skin is removed cut the plantains into 1-inch thick rounds.
Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet to no more than 350f degrees. Fry the plantains until lightly golden and then transfer to a paper towel to drain, about 3 minutes. With the bottom of a small pan or glass bowl, press the cooked plantains to flatten them to half their original thickness. Return the flattened plantains to the hot oil and fry again until crisp around the edges and deeply golden. Once cooked transfer to paper towels to drain and then season with salt. Serve the plantains hot with the Mojo.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: I’m still quite a novice when it comes to picking the right plantain and think the next time I make this I’ll go for one that is starting to go a bit dark (overripe is sweeter) whereas the green plantain is unripe and starchy. This sweetness would come through much more than the green one I chose. I love the flavors from the mojo and found it complimented the plantain rounds. Would I make this again? You betcha!