Wednesday, March 17, 2010

By Request: Tostones

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!  I'm Irish (shocker, I know) so I will be making Alton Brown's Corned Beef and Cabbage later today, but last night I made tostones!

Tostones are a salty, savory plantain dish.  They're great as a side dish, or to serve with guacamole at parties.  I have mixed feelings about the results.  It was a successful failure...the Apollo 13 of Cuban cuisine, if you will.  I did learn a few valuable lessons, so I will share those with you.  I'll keep experimenting and let you know when I perfect my recipe!  Here's what I did:

All you need are 2 ripe green plantains, canola oil, and salt (and love, love is all you need...sorry, I had to).

First, you have to peel the plantains.  This is something I still struggle with, so I enlisted help.
Dave struggled too.

Valuable lesson #1: if you're experiencing difficulty peeling plantains, use a vegetable peeler (even better if it's ceramic).

Next, cut the plantains into 1-inch thick slices.

Heat about 1/3 cup of canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Place plantain slices in the pan.  The oil should just about cover the slices.  Valuable lesson #2: do NOT salt the plantains before cooking them.  Salt helps to break down the fruit during cooking and it will make the plantains softer.  This is a great texture for some dishes, but you want these babies crispy.

Cook about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from pan and drain over a paper towel.

Next, you need to flatten the slices.  Real Cuban cooks use one of these:

This is called a tostonera, and if someone can help me figure out where to register for one I would be eternally grateful!  I McGyvered this up:

 Plastic bag + spatula + force

Place one slice at a time in a plastic bag.  Place spatula over bag and push down.  Valuable lesson #3: don't push too hard!  You want these to end up about 1/4" thinner!

  The good, the bad and the ugly

Once all of the slices are flattened, return the the hot oil and fry for another minute or two.  Drain on new paper towels, and enjoy!

This dish was made by request.  Do you have a Cuban dish you're dying to learn how to make?  Email me at cooking4gringas (at) gmail (dot) com!  Or become a fan on Facebook and post it on there!


  1. They have tostoneras at Bed Bath & Beyond!

  2. Yay! We're registered there! My mom told me she got one at Publix for $1 too...but I like presents :)

  3. Hi, I came across you blog via Foodie Blogroll, my blog just officially accepted by them, so do you. I like to learn home cooking from difference country. I will be back to check what you cooking for the next.

  4. Hi Sonia! Your blog is really great too! I'm following you and I added you as a friend on the Foodie Blogroll. Happy cooking!