If there is one thing that life on the homestead revolves around, it is food. We are always trying to grow more of it and we love to cook it. As hard as we try, there are always foods we enjoy that we can’t grow on the homestead. Every once in a while we treat ourselves to one of these foods. This week while at the store, the checkout clerk handed Tracy a free plantain. What a wonderful gift, since we love to make tostones from plantains. We acquired our recipe from a Dominican gentleman I used to work with. The recipe is perfect in its simplicity, and it reminds us that good food does not have to be complicated.
You begin with a green plantain, it should be firm but not hard, it should also not be turning yellow or it will burn due to a higher sugar content.
The next step is to peel the plantain and slice it into 3/4″ slices
Pour 2″ of vegetable oil into a large pot and heat until the oil ripples. Then add your plantain slices cook 30 sec on each side then remove and drain.
While they are draining you can prepare a dipping sauce called Mojito. Crush three large cloves of garlic and lightly brown it in a pan with olive oil. Once it is browned place it in a small bowl for dipping your tostones.
Now comes the fun part. My Dominican friend called it “the smashing”. Take one of your cooked plantain slices and place it on a cutting board. Take a second cutting board and place it on top of the slice. Then push down until it squishes the plantain. It takes a few tries to get the feel but you want the slices to end up being 1/8″ or so.
Then use a knife and scrape them off of the board. Next place them back into the oil for a second fry and cook until golden brown, flipping once.
Drain again on a paper towel, lightly salt and place them on a plate around a bowl of your dipping sauce.
This amazingly simple dish is full of flavors you will enjoy. They are especially popular as a late night snack. Homesteading is about getting back to the basics, and this dish does just that. It is amazing how good 4 simple ingredients can taste, and when you make them on a winter’s evening they warm you with thoughts of the Caribbean. So next time you are at the market grab a plantain and take your family on a tropical getaway.