These puppies are amazing. I can’t tell you how tasty they are. If you’ve never had one, it’s kind of like mixing a banana with a potato and then deep frying the whole thing. How can you go wrong with that? These are brought to you from the kitchen of the lovely Marina with “would you like to call a friend” help from her mom in Malaga. I first had them in La Casa del Mojito in Seattle.
6-7 large green plantains (in Spanish they are called platanos machos)
5 cups or so of vegetable oil
6 to 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
2/3 cup sour orange juice or lime juice
(or equal portions orange juice and lime juice)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Let’s make the sauce first!
In a small sauce pan place the olive oil and over medium heat cook the garlic for about 30 seconds. Pour in the mixture of orange and lime juice. Be careful because the oil will splatter. Add in the cumin, pepper and salt and bring to boil. After you remove from heat you can add in chopped cilantro, but my mythical Cuban grandmother says that’s not traditional Cuban style Mojo. Set that aside to cool while you make the vehicle for this sauce.
Now on to the tostones. The technique here is really what is important. First you have to peel the plantains. If you have ever tried to do this you will know it is not a picnic. Cut the plantains (peel and all) into about 2 inch long sections.
Cut the section with a knife lengthwise and stick your fingers in the slit. Pull the peel off slowly until it starts to give and it should pull completely away. I feel like I’m giving marital advice, here.
In a very large fry pan, place enough oil to cover the plantain bits while they are laying down. Heat the oil to medium high and drop the plantains into the oil.
Let them cook for about 5 minutes, just to where they are getting firm. Then carefully pull them out and set them aside. I would recommend using metal tongs and not your fingers.
Here’s where talent, experience and patience came into play. We had none of the above so we just charged ahead. We had no idea what we were doing so we did what any self respecting cook would do, we phoned mom.
She explained that it is best to place the semi-cooked plantain between two pieces of a paper bag
or saran wrap or some hard plastic and squish it down flat with a drinking glass. The saran wrap was not the best but soon all of the plantains were little squished version of their former selves. Onward to the present…
Place them in some warm water for a few minutes. Be sure to dry them off a bit. Then heat up the oil again and place them back in, in their squished format. Let them fry for another 5-10 minutes and pull them out. Check them frequently as they should not be hard just a little crunchy and golden brown.
Pour on your sauce and serve to some very happy people.
Thanks so much to Marina and her mom. Please let me know if I missed something or misrepresented part of the process.
Labels: Cuban, appetizer, tostones