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Fried Green Plantains

These delicious green plantain fritters are enjoyed throughout Latin America. Some are thick and some are paper-thin, but patacones or tostones are among the most important foods to home cooks and restaurants alike. Although fried twice (once to cook and soften, and once to ensure they are golden and crisp), the fritters are very easy to prepare. They can be made ahead of time (after being flattened) and frozen for up to 3 months. Serve the plantains alongside ropa vieja, a Cuban stew made with shredded meat (see related recipe at left).

Ingredients:

  • 2 green plantains
  • 3 cups canola oil
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

To peel the green plantains, slice the ends off with a knife and make a lengthwise cut from one end to the other of the plantain skin. Remove the rest of the skin from the plantain. Slice the plantain into chunks 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide.

To precook the plantains, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil to 325°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Reduce the heat to medium, add the plantain chunks to the oil and deep-fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the plantains to a paper towel-lined plate.

While the plantains are still warm, flatten them with a wooden press or a heavy fry pan. Place an opened plastic bag over your wooden press or on your counter, put each plantain chunk inside the bag, and smash it with the top of the wooden press or with the pan.

To finish cooking the plantains, reheat the oil over medium-high heat to 350°F. Add the plantain chunks and deep-fry until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer the plantains to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle them with salt. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Latin Cooking, by Patricia McCausland-Gallo, Deborah Schneider & Beverly Cox (Oxmoor House, 2010).