Fried Plantains - Tostones

I probably would never even know what a plantain was, if it wasn't for family friends from Panama who made these for our family and got us hooked. They look like big green bananas, but taste more like potatoes. When plantains are unriped they need to be cooked before eating. Although plantains more poplular in tropical climates, they are now widely available and very simple to prepare and eat. This is our favorite way to make and eat them - twice fried! Tostones means twice fried in Spanish.
Fried Plantains

vegetable or canola oil for frying
plantains (firmer green plantains, not yellow ripe ones)
hot sauce, ketchup for serving

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil so it comes up about an inch on the side.
Peel the plantains. The peels can be very stiff and difficult to remove, so I like to cut a thin slit down two or three sides to help remove it. Use your knife to cut from the top to the bottom, just through the peel, but not through the plantain.It is easiest to do this in sections, rather than the whole peel at once. I know this sounds complicated, trust me, it's not.
Cut the plantain into 1 1/2 inch sections.
Once the oil is hot enough for frying (you can test this by placing the end of a wooden spoon into the pan and if little bubbles form around the base, it is ready), add the plantains, being careful not crowd the pan.Fry on both sides until golden, but not browned. This takes about 2-3 minutes on each side.Remove the plantains from the pan and drain on a brown paper bag (or paper towels). Once cool enough to handle, flatten the plantains by placing a glass with a flat bottom over the fried plantains and press down. Return the pressed plantains to the hot oil and fry a second time, about 1 minute on each side to brown a bit more and crisp them up. Salt to taste and serve immediately. We like to dip them into a hot sauce/ketchup mixture.
An incredible snack, side dish, or little meal in itself. These also make great party foods!


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