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These fried green plantains known as Patacones or Tostones depending on where you are in the world, are one of our favorite appetizers or snacks! They are twice-fried and sprinkled with salty for a crunchy, delicious bite that can be dipped in guacamole or sauce, or topped with shredded meat!
Patacones or Tostones (Fried Green Plantains)
Both Paul and I tried fried plantains for the first time when we were serving missions for our church - me in New Jersey where some Puerto Rican friends called them tostones and him in Costa Rica where these fried green plantains are known as patacones.
I fell head over heels for the delicious salty, savory, crunchy fried plantains that are perfect for scooping up beans or dipping in sauce or topping with pico de gallo, guacamole (my favorite and what I used here), or all kinds of shredded pork, beef, chicken, or garlic shrimp.
What are Tostones?
Tostones (pronounced tos-tone-ehs) and patacones (pronounced pat-a-cone-ehs) are twice-fried green plantains and they are the same dish, despite the different nomenclature.
In Puerto Rico, tostones are often served with a dipping sauce made with ketchup and mayo (what those of us who have lived in Utah know as "fry sauce"). Another popular dipping option is Mojito Sauce, which is a garlic sauce that sounds right up my alley. But they can also be served with beans, rice, salad, or shredded meat.
Tostones are also found in Cuba, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama, Honduras, Haiti, and other parts of Central America, as well as Puerto Rico.
Is Puerto Rico a Part of the United States of America?
There has been a lot of discussion about whether Puerto Rico should become the 51st state. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, so it's citizens are also U.S. citizens, but it does not have senators and it's citizens do not vote in presidential elections or pay federal income taxes to the U.S. government.
What is the difference between a banana and a plantain?
Although the two fruits look very similar and plantains are part of the banana family, plantains have a much higher starch content than bananas. And they taste different too, since bananas are sweeter and can be eaten raw, while plantains typically need to be cooked first unless they are very overripe to the point of being almost black on the outside.
What is the difference between fried green plantains and sweet plantains?
Both fried green plantains and sweet plantains are made from the same fruit. The main difference is the degree of ripeness when the plantain is consumed. As a plantain ripens, it goes from green to yellow to almost black. Unlike bananas, plantains are actually ripe when they are green. As they get more and more ripe, they become softer and sweeter, although even overripe, almost black, plantains aren't as sweet as bananas.
Sweet plantains are also often fried and they are so delicious with an almost tangy, sweet and slightly sour taste that I love. But rather than frying twice like tostones, sweet plantains are fried only once and known as maduros.
I think of green plantains more like a vegetable since it isn't sweet at all and closer to a potato in terms of flavor and texture than anything else. I like adding chunks of plantains to soup and cook them that way, but they can also be baked, steamed, or grilled.
Where do you find green plantains?
I can almost always find plantains in the tropical fruit area of the produce section at my local grocery store, right next to the coconuts, bananas, and pineapple. Chances are you have walked right past them and didn't even know it. But plantains are banana shaped, except bigger and firmer, with a thick, green skin (if it hasn't started to ripen to the point of yellow or blackness yet).
How do you peel a plantain?
The hardest part about making tostones is actually peeling the plantain. Unlike bananas, which peel easily, plantains have thicker skin that can be more difficult to remove.
The best way to peel a plantain is to use a sharp knife to cut off both ends of the plantain, then score down the ridge seams of the plantain skin, trying not to actually cut into the flesh of the plantain in the process.
Then I like to use a spoon to pry up the skin and peel from there. You could use your fingers as well, but I find a spoon works best to get things started.
How to Make Tostones
- Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven: You need just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan by about ½-inch. Heat it to 325 degrees F.
- Peel the plantains: Cut off the ends and score down the ridges of each plantain, then pry the skin off using your fingers or a spoon.
- Cut into 1-inch chunks and fry: You can slice on a diagonal or straight across. Then fry on each cut side for 3 to 5 minutes until the plantains turn golden yellow and soften slightly. Transfer to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towel.
- Smash into discs and fry again: You can use the back of a wooden spoon, a flat-bottomed measuring cup, or a glass to press each plantain, smashing it into a disch between ¼-inch and ½-inch thick. Increase the heat of the oil slightly to 350 degrees F, then fry each smashed plantain again until crispy and lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes total, flipping partway through. Remove from the oil and transfer to a plate to keep warm.
- Sprinkle the fried green plantains with kosher salt and serve warm. You can keep cooked tostones warm in an oven set to a low temperature of between 200 and 250 degrees F.
More Easy Veggie Snacks & Appetizers You'll Love
- Oven Roasted Broccoli with Garlic, Parmesan and Lemon
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apples
- Fried Yellow Squash
- Oven Roasted Barbecue Potato Wedges
Patacones or Tostones (Fried Green Plantains)
- 3 green plantains
- 1-2 cups vegetable oil
- Sea salt to taste
- You need just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan by about ½-inch. Heat it to 325 degrees F.
- Cut off the ends and score down the ridges of each plantain, then pry the skin off using your fingers or a spoon.
- You can slice on a diagonal or straight across. Then fry on each cut side for 3 to 5 minutes until the plantains turn golden yellow and soften slightly. Transfer to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towel.
- You can use the back of a wooden spoon, a flat-bottomed measuring cup, or a glass to press each plantain, smashing it into a disc between ¼-inch and ½-inch thick. Increase the heat of the oil slightly to 350 degrees F, then fry each smashed plantain again until crispy and lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes total, flipping partway through. Remove from the oil and transfer to a plate to keep warm.
- You can keep cooked tostones warm in an oven set to a low temperature of between 200 and 250 degrees F.