Tostones (Fried Green Plantain)
When I first started loving on these delicious slices of fried plantain, it never actually occurred to me that they could even qualify as such. I mean, I’d been enjoying them at breakfast and merely regarded them as a great, tasty source of carbs, post workout.
Then it sort of hit me: these could so easily be used as a replacement for potato chips, just like they could just as easily become one’s preferred snacking food. And THAT wouldn’t be desirable or even acceptable while on a Whole30.
But if like me, you regard them as nothing but a crunchy, yummy side dish that supplies a decent amount of carbohydrates, then I guess you’re fine. Enjoy a few slices as a side with your morning eggs, or with some creamy, spicy ground beef. Know that they also go surprisingly well with Salmon Tartare!
These tostones are so easy to make, you’re probably going to want to make them all the time. I swear! In fact, the trickiest part is to get that skin off your plantain; But I’ll help you with that and you’ll be a pro in no time.
Ready for this? Let’s go…
If you’ve never peeled plantains before, know that they can be a bit difficult and tricky to peel, especially when still in their green, unripe state. You can’t go at it just like you would with regular bananas. Indeed, you will need to use a knife in order to convince these starchy tropical fruits to let go of their skin. And even then, it’s often very reluctantly that they will comply.
But fear not: with the right technique, it can be done. Let me show you…
First, make sure your plantains are at room temperature, for cold plantains can be twice as hard to peel, which pretty much translates to darn near impossible! If you stored your plantains in the ice box, make sure to take them out at least a couple of hours before attempting to peel them.
Another trick is to soak the plantains in hot tap water for a few minutes to warm them up before removing their stubborn skin.
First thing you need to do is cut off both ends of the plantains. Discard the tips, you won’t have any use for them.
Try and cut between the natural ridges of the fruit, it’ll make your job that much more easier.
Also, cut only as deep as the peel is thick; you don’t want to be cutting into the flesh of the fruit, or well, not too much anyway. You might not be able to avoid scoring the surface, unless you’re insanely skilled with that blade…
To remove the peel, insert the tip of your fingers between the flesh and peel and delicately run it up and down the fruit until the peel comes loose.
Just do one section at a time and be gentle with it. Slowly but surely, and although seemingly reluctantly, the skin will eventually detach from the flesh…
Soon you will be able to completely remove that piece of peel and repeat the exact same process with the next sections.
Don’t worry if a few small chunks of flesh come off with the peel; likewise, use a sharp paring knife to remove any potential peel remnants that may have stuck to the flesh.
And now, I have extremely good news for you. The hard part is completely, totally behind you!
Honestly, it wasn’t really all that hard, was it? Yeah, I thought not!
Now cut each plantain into 10 to 12 thick slices, either straight or on a diagonal. Diagonal slices will yield slightly larger tostones, whereas straight cuts will yield more perfectly rounded “chips”.
Heat a generous amount of coconut oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. You’ll want to use 1½ to 2 tablespoons per plantain.
Oh, and you could also use another kind of healthy fat if you wanted to, such as lard or ghee, but I find coconut oil pairs magically well with the flavor of the plantain! It truly is a match made in heaven, a union that was meant to be…
When your pan and fat are hot enough, add the plantain in a single layer and fry the slices for about 2 minutes, or until they turn crisp and golden brown. Make sure there’s plenty of room for air to circulate around the slices; don’t hesitate to work in batches if you need to.
When the plantain is crispy and golden on one side, use kitchen tongs to flip the slices and continue cooking until the second side also turns beautiful and golden brown.
Return the skillet to the heat source, and then add the plantain to the skillet and fry for a second time, about 1 minute per side this time.
Make sure you still have plenty of fat in the pan; don’t hesitate to add more if necessary.
Your tostones are now ready! Remove them from the skillet and sprinkle generously with salt.
Serve immediately with a little squirt of lime juice, a dollop of mayo, a sprinkle of hot chili pepper flakes, a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar, or whatever else you feel would go good with them. In fact, they don’t need any help at all to taste amazing. Just a little dash of salt is more than enough.
Oh, and don’t you make the fatal mistake of sitting yourself down with that bowl because trust me, they’ll be gone before you even know it. Whole30, remember? Don’t you go do this Sex With Your Pants On thing…
Stay with the program, keep it clean. Enjoy these as a healthy side!
- 2 green plantains
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- About 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
- Plantains can be a bit difficult and tricky to peel, especially when still in their green, unripe state.
- First, make sure your plantains are at room temperature, as cold plantains can be twice as hard to peel (which pretty much means darn near impossible!) so if you stored your plantains in the fridge, make sure you take them out at least a couple of hours before you begin. Another trick is to soak the plantains in hot tap water for a few minutes to warm them up.
- Cut off both ends of the plantains and discard the tips.
- Hold your plantain firmly in one hand and, with the tip of a sharp knife, slit the peel along the entire length of the fruit in 3 different locations. Cut only as deep as the peel is thick; you don’t want to be cutting into the flesh of the fruit.
- To remove the peel, insert the tip of your fingers between the flesh and peel and delicately run it up and down the fruit until the peel comes loose. The peel will come off in sections.
- Don't worry if a few small chunks of flesh come off with the peel; likewise, use a paring knife to remove any potential peel remnants left on the flesh.
- Cut the plantains into 10 to 12 thick slices, either straight or on a diagonal.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet set over medium heat.
- When the pan is hot enough, add the plantain and fry the slices for about 2 minutes, or until they turn crisp and golden brown. Flip the slices and continue cooking until that side also turns golden. Remove the plantain to a cutting board and immediately flatten them down with a flat object such as a small saucepan, a flat bottomed drinking glass, turner or spatula. Return the plantain to the skillet and fry for a second time, about 1 minute per side this time.
- Remove the tostones from the skillet and sprinkle generously with salt.
- Serve immediately.