>> Friday, 31 March 2017
Every week I buy green plantains. I cook the plantains in a variety of ways to have as a snack or a meal. I. Love. Green plantains. More than I do ripe plantains. One of my favourite ways to cook green plantains is shallow frying; it cooks up quickly and easily and does not absorb a lot of oil. There are several ways to prepare green plantains to be fried - as crisp chips, fritters, potato-style fries or as tostones.
Tostones are twice fried green plantains. Once peeled, the plantains are cut into 1 - 1 1/2-inch thick rounds, fried for about 2 minutes, smashed to flatten and then fried again to crisp up. The outsides are crisp and the insides soft. I use the device below that I bought a few years ago in a West Indian store in the United States, before that I used my cast iron skillet. Tostones are good on their own and great with accompaniments such as salsas, hot sauces, ketchup, garlic sauce and other condiments.
You do not need speciality equipment to flatten the fried plantains, use a cast iron skillet or any heavy implement that can flatten stuff. I suggest putting the fried plantain between plastic wrap, wax or parchment paper if using a skillet etc. so that the plantains are easy to remove once mashed.
Pico de gallo is a fresh salsa/salad, to make it you need crisp onions, fresh firm ripe tomatoes, spicy garlic, hot peppers, tender cilantro/coriander, salt, and fresh lime or juice. The quantity of the ingredients to make the salsa is based on your personal preference. For the onions, I like to use white onions, but I also use Spanish onions or red onions, depending on what I have available.
Here are a few tips to make the pico de gallo.
- Cut up the onions first, then grate or grind the garlic to a paste, do not merely chop it where you are likely to bite into tiny bits of garlic.
- Add the onions and garlic paste to a bowl, along with lime/lemon juice and add salt to taste. Mix together the ingredients and let it sit for about 10 - 15 minutes; this will breakdown the rawness of the garlic and onions and begin the pickling process.
- Finely mince the hot peppers and chop the tomatoes into small pieces; if you like, you can remove the seeds from a couple of the tomatoes. But do not de-seed all the tomatoes, the pulp of the tomatoes add important flavour to the salsa.
- Roughly or finely chop the cilantro and include some of the tender stems, mincing them (the stems) finely.
- Add the peppers, tomatoes and cilantro to the onion-garlic mixture and toss to mix. Taste and adjust with more lime/lemon juice and salt until it suits your taste. To determine the taste, taste the juice itself after mixing the ingredients together.
- Cover the salsa/salad and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving so that the flavors can meld.
- Bring the salsa to room temperature before serving.