Tostones are twice fried slices of unripe plantains. Plantains are a member of the banana family and look like large bananas. They’re hard and starchy when green, and are used much like a potato as a major dietary starch in many of the world’s tropical cuisines. As they ripen they turn yellow, then black (like their sweeter dessert banana cousins) and are used for cooking at all stages of ripeness.
This recipe is common in Latin cuisine where tostones are served as a side dish or snack in the same manner as French fries. A garlicky dip, salsa or plain sour cream is often served with tostones or simply with lime wedges for sprinkling over the tostones.
large green plantains
1 quart water
1 tablespoon salt
To peel the plantains, cut the top and the bottom off. Make a shallow slice down the side and pry the peel off Cut the peeled plantains into ¼ inch slices and place in a bowl with the water and salt. Let stand 30 minutes.
Drain the slices well and pat as dry as possible with paper towels. Preheat the oil in a frying pan to medium high (important so the tostones don’t become greasy) until the slices are tender but not brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.
When cool, smash each slice with the bottom of a glass (or use a special press made just for this). Return the smashed slices to the hot oil and fry again, this time till golden brown (in our household we like them a dark golden brown. They get a nice crispy, chewy texture when fried to a darker brown). Remove from the oil, drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup white vinegar
4 garlic cloves minced and mashed to a paste
pinch of salt
few tablespoons finely minces cilantro or flat leaf Italian parsley