Now that we have our Anytime Mojitos in check, how about whipping up a little Cuban feast?
After living in Miami for 5 years, you can’t help but develop a taste for Cuban food. First, there’s the coffee. Oh, how I miss Cuban coffee. There’s just nothing like it… For those who are unfamiliar, it’s really a super-strong, super-sweet espresso. Called a “colada,” it’s served it in a small styrofoam cup with a stack of little shot cups (they look like those disposable half-n-half containers). It’s meant to be shared, so it’s kind of like a Cuban tradition. This stuff will wake you up when all else fails. Trust me when I say, everyone in Miami is familiar with this.
There’s a lot more about Cuban food I love (hello, empanadas!) but because I could go on about this all day, I’ll move on.
I’m okay with moving on because I’m talking about tostones now, which are probably my all-time favorite Cuban food. If you’ve had plantains, chances are you’ve had the sweet, brown, and gloppy version typically served as a side dish. When these are nice and firm, I like them, but they often get soggy – so in that case, I’m not a fan. Green plantains are the same fruit, just not ripened yet, and that’s what tostones are made from. Green plantains that are fried…and fried again…then coated in salt. Could this be bad? I think not.
With me? Peel your plantain. Cut it into nice, thick chunks. Drop chunks into hot oil for a minute or two. Take them out and smash them! If you’re Cuban, then A.) you’re probably not reading this right now because you already know how to make them and B.) have one of those super-cool plantain smushers. Don’t worry, non-Cubanos, you can do this in lots of other ways. I used the bottom of a glass. Then, you fry again. Then, you salt.
It’s heaven. Deep-fried, salty, starchy heaven.
Adapted from Three Guys from Miami
- 3 large green plantains
- Vegetable oil (enough to fill your skillet or pot by about 1/3)
- Kosher salt
Peel the plantain by cutting the end off with a sharp knife. Use the knife to cut through the peel for the entire length of the plantain. Loosen the peel along the cut and remove the peel by hand. Cut the plantain into chunks, about 2 to 2 1/2-inches wide.
Fill a large skillet 1/3-full with oil and heat over medium-high heat to a temperature of about 300 degrees F. Once the oil is hot, fry the plantain slices for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, turning once – just long enough to make them soft. Remove the plantains and drain on paper towels. Use a plantain press or the bottom of a glass to smash the plantains to about half their thickness.
Let the oil come back to a higher temperature – this time about 375 degrees F. Fry once again, turning occasionally, until golden brown on both sides. Remove and use paper towels to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with plenty of salt and serve.
Makes 6 servings.