I know, I know, I know….this is a pressure cooking blog and this is NOT a pressure cooker recipe. I debated adding non-Instant pot recipes to my blog and I came to the conclusion that, well why the heck not! Plantains are a staple in Cuban cuisine (and many many other Hispanic and Latin cuisines, too). They are inexpensive, require few ingredients, easy to prepare, and can be used at every point of ripeness. The trick is knowing which method to use depending on the level of ripeness.
Tostones utilize the plantain when it is green and unripe. Tostone comes from the word tostar which means “to toast” and it gets this name because you double fry them to create a crispy, crunchy texture. You could probably find thousands of recipes online for Tostones, but it’s the tricks that only a Cuban grandma (or in my case, father-in-law) can teach you to get them extra crispy.
Tostones (Cuban Crispy Fried Plantains)
Recipe by Lana Horruitiner Perez and Santiago Perez
2 Unripe, Green Plantains (try to find ones with no yellow/black or soft spots on it)
Canola or Vegetable oil for deep frying
-The peel of the unripe Plantains can be hard to take off. The easiest way is to cut off the ends then score the peel along the side of the Plantain from one end to another. Flip it over and score the other side.
-Run your thumb in between the peel and the fruit to separate the peel. Usually it should come off in one motion. If it doesn’t, it’s ok. Just keep peeling it until it’s off completely.
-Cut the Plantain into 1 inch pieces.
-Heat your oil in a dutch oven or a deep fryer to about 350 degrees (if you don’t have a thermometer just heat it on high and test it with one small piece. It should bubble vigorously). Use a deep pot so when the hot oil bubbles it will not overflow. Carefully place the pieces into the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes. You are NOT cooking it all the way through and you do not want to get them too dark. Just lightly darker than when you started.
-Take them out after 3-4 minutes and place on a plate with a paper towel.
-Place a small round plate on top of one fried piece of plantain and press down to smash the plantain into a flattened circle about an 1/8th of an inch thick. . You can spray the bottom of the plate with a little PAM if you find the plantains sticking to the plate. Do this with each piece. Set them aside. You can follow the recipe up until this part and wait until just about ready to eat before you do the second fry. If you are going to wait, make sure to turn off the stove!
-Before you fry a second time, place the smashed plantains in a bowl of cold water.
-With tongs, take one plantain at a time, drain off the water, and place in the hot oil. Fry for another 3-4 minutes. This will cause the oil to bubble and pop even more than usual. DO NOT OVER FILL THE POT! If you put too many in at a time the oil will rise and overflow. If you are nervous about this step, you can place the wet plantains on a paper towel to drain a little bit and this will reduce the amount of bubbling.
-Fry for 3-4 minutes until they are golden brown and very crispy. Take out of the oil and let drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and serve. They are best when served right away however, you can keep them warm in the oven for a short time.