Tostones are a very popular side dish in Latin America. Tostones are plantains that are fried, smashed, and and fried again. That’s right, they are deep fried twice. No wonder they are so delicious.
The thought of deep frying something twice is a bit too much for me (no, I’ve never tried a deep fried twinkie, why do you ask?), so I decided to make this recipe just a bit healthier: Microwave, smash, deep fry. Aldo definitely had a problem with this plan and was convinced that they were going to turn out terrible. But I didn’t doubt it for a second – plantains can be eaten boiled like mashed potatoes, so how is it possible to make them worse by microwaving and then deep frying them? There is logic in there somewhere, trust me.
And I was right. They came out great. I made a roasted peach and tomatillo salsa to go with them, and it was a delicious dinner paired with corn on the cob and a salad.
Tomatillos are those little green tomatoes with the a papery husk on them that you see in grocery stores but never buy. Well, pick them up next time and give them a try! The trick to picking out good tomatillos is finding ones that are firm, green, and unblemished, and the husk should be green. If the husk starts turning yellow that is OK, but don’t get the ones that turned brown.
When you get home, remove the husks and wash the tomatillos thoroughly. They will be slimy and sticky because of the inside of the husk. I actually used a bit of soap on each one, and then thoroughly rinsed.
I cut a raw tomatillo in half and tried a piece. It tasted kind of tangy, kind of sour, but not in a bad way – it would be perfect in a salsa with sweet peaches. Tomatillos are firm when raw, but get mushy when you cook them. Because of this, it is better to pick bigger tomatillos for this recipe. You don’t want them to cook too fast and fall apart too much after roasting. Anyway, here it the recipe. If you’ve been wanting to try something new, something fresh, something with the perfect balance of tang, sweetness, and spiciness, you should make this roasted peach tomatillo salsa.
Or, you know, regular store bought salsa or guacamole would be awesome on the tostones. The tostones themselves take less than 15 minutes to make and if that’s all the time you have then save this salsa recipe for another time.
Makes about 15 small ones. Total time: 10 minutes.
- 2 green plantains
- Oil for frying
- Sea salt
- Juice from 1/2 lime
1. Peel the plantains. Cut off the ends of the plantains. Carefully slit the peel along the length of the plantains with a knife. Don’t go in too far, you only want to slit the skin, not the plantain inside.
Remove the skin with your hands. It will come off in sections.
2. Put the plantains on a microwave-safe plate, cover them with a damp paper towel, and microwave for 4 minutes. I don’t know the power of my microwave, I always assume it’s on medium whenever recipes specify. So lets say microwave for 4 minutes on medium power.
3. Cut the plantains into 1 inch long pieces. You should get 7-8 pieces from each plantain, depending on the size.
4. Here’s the fun part. You can either get a plantain smasher, or use any two flat surfaces to smash the plantains. I used a large plate and a small plate. Take the large plate and spray it with non stick spray. Take the small plate and spray the underside with non stick spray. Working with one plantain piece at a time, place it on the larger plate, and firmly press down on top of it with the smaller plate until it doesn’t smash anymore. The smashed plantain should be about 1/4 inch thick. It’s a fine balance between making your plantain too thick (which is totally ok! it just won’t be as crispy) and smashing it too much and having it break apart. If it gets stuck to the plate, use a knife to gently un-stick the smashes plantain.
5. Fry the plantains! Heat about 1 cup of oil in a large pan. As I said in the other post, Aldo checks if the oil is hot enough by adding a tiny drop of water to the hot oil and seeing it if splatters violently all over the place. Don’t do that. I believe the proper way to do this is by adding 1 sacrificial plantain and seeing how long it takes to cook. It should take about 30 seconds to turn golden brown. If it burns faster than that, the oil is too hot. If it takes much longer than that, you can turn up the heat. Adjust the heat as necessary.
Carefully place the plantains into the oil one by one and start the countdown. If the oil covers the plantains completely, there is no need to flip them. Just cook for about 30-40 seconds and carefully remove with long tons and place on a paper towel to absorb the oil. If the oil only covers the bottom of the plantain, then carefully flip each one after 30 seconds, and fry for another 30 seconds on the other side.
6. While the tostones are still hot, sprinkle with sea salt and squeeze a lime all over them.
Roasted Peach Tomatillo Salsa
Makes a decent sized bowl. Total time: 30 minutes. Hands-on time: 10 minutes.
- 6-8 medium-large tomatillos
- 1 large peach (not too ripe, you want to be able to cut into it)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 2 small hot peppers (jalapenos will work fine), seeds removed. Or 1 pepper, depending on preference.
- Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, stems removed and chopped
1. Salsa time! Preheat the broiler in your oven and spray olive oil on a large baking dish covered with foil.
2. Thoroughly wash the tomatillos and cut each one in half. Peel and slice the onion half into long wedges, and separate all the wedges. Cut the hot peppers in half and remove all the seeds. Slice the peach into 8 slices, discarding the pit.
3. Arrange the tomatillos, peppers, onion slices, peach slices, and garlic cloves on the baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 7-8 minutes in your broiler. The tops of the tomatillos and peppers should start charring but should not burn. This can happen very quickly in a broiler, so start checking on it to be safe around 6 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
4. Assemble the salsa! Roughly chop all the roasted ingredients into 1/2 inch cubes (except the garlic). There will be a lot of juices coming from the tomatillos, so your pieces won’t be perfect. Add all the chopped ingredients to a bowl, but try not to add the extra juice. It’s OK if some gets in there, but we don’t need a watery salsa. Use a garlic press or mince the garlic into tiny pieces and add to the bowl. Add the chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well.
Top the tostones with the salsa and enjoy!