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September 29, 2009

Green Plantains

Green Plantains

There has been a lot of talk lately about ‘comfort foods.’  Foods like meatloaf and mac and cheese.  Some upscale restaurants have even added classic comfort foods to their menus because who doesn’t love a bowl of creamy mac and cheese.  But growing up in a Puerto Rican household one of the foods that comforted me the most was tostones or twice fried plantains.  My mom made the best tostones: golden crispy discs smothered in crushed garlic and olive oil.  Yummy!

In the last several years more and more grocery stores have started to carry plantains, both green and yellow, in their produce departments so they’re very easy to find.  You may have even passed them in your local store but were hesitant to pick one up because you didn’t know what to do with them!  I’m here to help you with that dilema.  Make tostones!  They are made using green plantains.



First you want to start by heating approximately 2 cups of corn oil in a skillet, a large one works best.  I use corn oil because that’s what mami used and the tostones just taste better.  Next you want to peel the plantain.  Peeling a plantain can be a chore for some but I find that cutting into it lengthwise, letting the tip of your knife go in only about an 1/8 of an inch deep, then running it under cold water for a few seconds helps to looses the touch exterior.  Chef Nadine Nelson of Roxbury taught me that trick.  Then using the tip of your knife slowly start to peel back the skin to reveal the banana.  Take your time when you first start.  It may take you a couple of tries to get this technique down but it’s worth the time.

Slice the banana into 1 inch rounds and fry in the corn oil until both sides are golden but not brown, about 3 minutes.  As they begin to color on both sides remove the rounds to paper towels to drain.  The next step can be done in a couple of ways.  You can go out and spend money on a tostonera, which is a wooden tool used to smash the rounds into discs but I find a paper bag and a heavy bottomed glass cup or bottle works just fine.

If you choose my method simply place the golden round in between two pieces of brown paper and smash into a disc then return them to the hot oil and fry them for another 3 minutes or until they are golden and crispy.  Drain the tostone on paper towels and season with kosher salt.  Serve immediately.  Tostones are not meant to be eaten cold or reheated. It’s just not the same.

Second Fry

Second Fry

Tostones are wonderful as is, fresh from the pan and sprinkled with salt but they can also be used as a bed for other wonderful ingredients like salsa fresca, guacamole, or crushed garlic.  They’re superb as an hors d’oeuvre for a cocktail party.  Tostones and mojitos perhaps? Share them with your friends and family at your next gathering.  And make plenty because these little suckers go fast!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2009 4:22 PM

    please can i come over? i love tostones! when i am home in JP i have to visit El Oriental for a fix. maybe i have to commit to mastering the homemade….

  2. Carla permalink
    October 18, 2009 10:58 PM

    I miss your tostones!

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