WARNING: contains ridiculously delicious fried food.
I haven’t had fried plantain (tostones) in years, which is crazy because they’re fantastic. Today I was in the No Frills buying cat litter and a few other things, and when I swung by the veggies, they had some good looking plantains there. These ones had turned from green to yellow but didn’t yet have all the black sugar spots. The green ones are starchier and the super-ripe ones are sweeter. The ones at the No Frills were right in the middle of the scale. I bought one and decided to make myself tostones and eggs for lunch. Retired guys do that.
There are two things I can tell you about frying plantains. One is that even though many people deep fry the hell out of them in half an inch of oil, you don’t have to do that. I used about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. That’s it. The other thing I can tell you is that to make them super-fantastic, you fry them once, press them, then fry them again.
You can slice your plantain however you like. I cut mine on diagonals about half inch thick. You want your oil hot enough that when you touch a piece of plantain to the pan, you can see oil bubbles. Fry them for 30 seconds on each side, then take them out and put them on a paper towel covered plate.
If you made these things every day, you might want to have a tostone press in your kitchen, but I used a small pot and it worked just fine. One at a time, put a piece of once-fried plantain on a cutting board, cover it with the pot and press down. You don’t have to be Superman or Wonder Woman to do this. The pieces flatten out nicely with a little pressure.
Once you’ve got them all pressed (and this is no big deal, it took me under a minute), put the pressed pieces back into a hot pan. I think I cooked mine for maybe a minute more on each side, just enough to make them crispy. I think some folks cook them to a potato chip level of crispiness, but that wasn’t what I was after. I wanted them nice and crispy on the outside but still soft on the inside. When they’re ready, put them back on the plate on some fresh paper towel. Add some salt right away. If you’re thinking, oh man, I don’t want to add salt, that’s bad for you, consider you’ve just fried your breakfast.
Same pan, I fried two eggs, over easy. Sunny side up would have been fine too. The joy here is in mopping up the runny eggy goodness with a tostone. Let me make a confession here and now: I squirted sriracha all over the whole business before eating, just because.