So. It’s Hispanic Heritage Month. And with all of the things I could have written about to cover this month, look what I chose. Tostones. I always have food on my mind. I can’t help it. But, this delicious little plantain delight is more than just a snack or side dish for me. They represent the moments my mom had a little bit of extra time in the kitchen (between working and going to school). It was like “Oh! Mom’s making tostones! It’s about to be an awesome day!”. They were also the addition to her a-ma-zing sopa de camarones, which is what she makes me whenever she visits.
After moving out of my mom’s home, I can’t say I made tostones for myself. I may have ordered them at Latino restaurants once in a while, but my palette started changing and the world of international dishes opened up for me more and more as I got older. My son has eaten these at the home of family and friends (which was also his introduction to Mayo-Ketchup – a dip I actually did not grow up with because my family typically served tostones with garlic), so at least he has been given the savory gift of the almighty fried plantain. It was the forgotten side dish that only made an appearance when mom was in town, and that’s just sad. It wasn’t until my guy moved in with us that these were introduced back into my life. With each bite, memories of my family (mom, grandmother, aunts, uncles) and the local neighborhood restaurants from my childhood (Caridad, anyone?) started to resurface. It felt like home. They say a way to man’s heart is through his stomach. Does it count that my friends tell me my personality is more like a guy? Because I certainly caught a bit of love-jones when these were whipped up.
If you’d like to know what I’m raving about, here’s what you need to do:
- 2 large green plantains (peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch slices)
- Approx 3 cups of vegetable oil
- Sea salt (to taste)
- 1/2 cup of Mayonnaise (I used Gluten-free. It actually tastes better!)
- 1/2 cup of Ketchup
- 1 large clove garlic, pressed
- Whip up the mayonnaise, ketchup, and garlic. Cover and refrigerate.
- Start peeling your plantains by cutting the ends of each plantain off. Slice down one of the natural grooves of your plantain with a sharp knife. Loosen the peel along the cut and remove by hand.
- Cut the plantain into slices, about 2 to 2 1/2-inches wide.
- Add your oil to large frying pan or skillet, and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, gently place your plantain slices on to the pan for about 3 minutes. Turn them over to cook both sides evenly.
- Once your plantains are a light golden color, remove them and place them on a paper towel to absorb the oil.
- Use a plantain press or the bottom of a cup to press down on each one.
- Raise the heat a little bit more, and fry your plantains again until they're golden brown. They're now officially tostones.
- Place your tostones on a paper towel to absorb the oil, sprinkle a bit of sea salt and serve.