03 November 2013

Tostones with Cuban Dip

We have a semi-new Asian supermarket/restaurant here in town, Mr. Chen's, and it is totally awesome.  My mom and I went and ate lunch there last week.  I had some totally unbelievable stir fried shrimp rice noodles.  I have been furiously craving more since then.  The best part about going to eat at Mr. Chen's is getting to go shopping afterward.  It's got a pretty awesome selection with lots of fresh seafood and produce.  One time they even had an 18 pound lobster.....Just try to imagine how huge it was.  I wish I had gotten a picture.  Anyhoo....  I got some lovely green plantains on my shopping trip with the intention of going home and making tostones.

the smoked paprika is just so pretty
plantain chunks after the first fry
Tostones are twice fried plaintains.  You can make them either by flattening out thick slices of plantains or you can just start with really thin slices.  I prefer the smooshed down slices since they are more plantain-y.  The thin slices end up more like chips.  You can take your pick.  They are a staple dish in most of the Caribbean countries.  Some places serve them with a mojo, or garlic sauce. 

My first exposure to tostones was at this little hole in the wall, absolutely amazing Cuban restaurant in Miami.  It was the first time I had ever had tostones and I totally fell in love.  I fell in love with all the Cuban food, not just the tostones.  The black beans, fried pork chunks, yellow rice......  Okay, now I'm drooling all over my keyboard.

It may seem like double work, but you have to twice fry your plantains.  That's the trick to getting them super crispy.  You should also totally make this dipping sauce.  It's basically all the toppings on a Cuban sandwich in liquid form -- pickles, garlic, mustard, a little spice, and smokiness.  Now go get frying.  You'll be in heaven.

and then you smoosh 'em

Tostones with Cuban Dip

Print me, Please!!!

for the tostones:
2 cups water
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 Tbsp salt
vegetable oil
3 small green plantains
smoked paprika

for the Cuban dip:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp dill pickle juice
3-4 dashes chipotle hot sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper

To make the tostones, combine the water, garlic cloves, and 2 teaspoons of the salt in a large bowl; set aside.

In a large skillet, pour the oil to a depth of about 3/4".  Heat the oil to 325°.  Peel the plantains and cut into 1" thick slices.  Fry until golden yellow in color, about 90 seconds per side.  With a slotted spoon or spatula, remove the plantains to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, standing them up on their ends.  Using a wooden spoon or spatula, press down lightly on each slice to flatten it to about 1/2" thick.  Place the flattened slices in the bowl of seasoned water and let them soak for 1 minute.  Remove the slices to a clean tea or dish towel and gently pat dry (any excess water on the slices will cause the hot oil to spatter and it may burn you).

Return the plantains to the hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.  Let the slices drain on a plate lined with paper towels.  Sprinkle the slices with the remaining teaspoon of salt and some smoked paprika.  Serve immediately.

To make the Cuban dip, whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Store in a covered container in the refrigerator if not serving immediately.

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