Tostones Y Pico de Gallo

>> Friday, 31 March 2017

Tostones Pico de gallo photo ptain gallo5_zps5n1anyru.png

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.

Tostonera photo Tostonera_zpsz88xole0.png

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 photo pdgallo4_zpsky8zo1sf.png

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.

Tostones picodegallo photo ptain gallo9_zpsdkdnntqr.png

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