Tostones are a food native to the Caribbean islands, including the countries of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Basically, they're fried plantains made in a specific way. And that way makes them taste better than the Greek gods' ambrosia.
This recipe calls specifically for green plantains. Plantains, if you're not familiar with them, look like slightly-larger-than-normal bananas. When the plantain peel is green, it means that the fruit is still in its early stage of ripeness and is starchier in makeup. As the peel transitions from green to yellow, the starch in the fruit begins to break down into simpler sugars, making it taste sweeter. By the time the peel has gone from yellow to black, the fruit is just as sweet (or even more so) than a banana. Since tostones are a savory food, green plantains are best to use with this recipe.
Just for reference, when someone asks me what plantains taste like, this is my general response:
- Green peel = potato (you don't want to eat it raw. It won't hurt you, but it won't taste too great.)
- Yellow peel = unsweet like a very green banana
- Yellow with brown spots peel = pretty much like a standard ripe banana
- Black = very sweet and great to use in dessert dishes
Don't be intimidated by these things, though! I know they're not used very much in the U.S., but they are SO good and I'm low-key addicted to tostones in particular. They're a great evening prebiotic starch that I usually make a few times a week as a side dish for dinner!
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
- First, slice ends off of the plantains and slice along the length of the peels, being careful just to cut through the skin and not through the fruit. I suggest cutting 5-6 sections around the peel, since it is hard to get off of the green-skinned plantains. Peel each section off like you would a banana.
2. Discard the peels and slice the fruit into 1-inch thick coins.
3. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat and place the coins into the hot oil, flat side down. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the bottom side has turned golden, then flip to the other flat side for about 3 minutes until it matches the first one. Then, remove the pieces from the skillet. They will still appear raw in the middle.
4. Take a glass cup or mason jar and grease the bottom with some extra coconut oil. Press it flat onto each plantain coin, squishing it into an even flatter and larger disk. Repeat for all the pieces you've cooked to stage 3.
5. Once all pieces have been pressed with the glass, add them back to the still-hot pan, adding more coconut oil to it if needed. Fry each side of the new disks again for 3-5 minutes each, until no more raw (light yellow) parts of the fruit are visible and the disks are now light brown to dark, depending on if you like burnt things or not. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on each side of the disks while cooking.
6. Once they're reached your preferred doneness, remove from the heat (careful, they'll be HOT) and go to heaven... I mean serve & scarf them. But it's basically the same thing.