Just returning from Republica Dominicana, I have eaten my weight in platanos. Plantains are a staple in African, Latin American and Caribbean cuisine – I even saw a mashed potato version with onions and butter. Delicious.
Plantains are a food that is meant to processed by heat – whether by cooking, baking, or frying. They are considered very nutricious, with their high percentages of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, as well as a high potassium and magnesium content. They are a staple food in many places around the globe and commonly used for weening infants in many countries.
My favorite version are the tostones, twice fried plantains. The process is simple – cut up a plantain in generous slices, fry once, then cool, mash to flatten into a pancake like form, then fry again. I find that the version made with coconut oil is my favorite, although it can be made with lard, clarified butter, tallow or any other healthy saturated fat – and, yes, saturated fats are heat stable and good for the occasional frying. I try to avoid frying with regular vegetable oil like corn or canola oil (because of a high omega 6 content) or trans fats like Crisco, which are trans hydrogentated and have so many negative health effects. An execeptin is sesame oil, which has a high amount of lignans and tocopherols (Vitamin E), preventing oxidation. It can be mixed with coconut oil or clarified butter to make a great frying oil. Although olive oil is a healthful frying oil, I personally wouldn’t use it here for flavor reasons.
1 plantain cut in 1/2 inch slices
tablespoon of coconut oil or cooking fat of preference ( may need a second for refrying)
skillet or pan
Cut the plantain, best in slight diagnal fashion. Heat the fat until a drop of water bounces and sizzles. But the on the pan, frying until both sides are lightly browned (1-2 minutes each). Afterwards place on plate or top, slighly mash to flatten, and reheat pan with fat. Refry until nicely medium brown. Either place in towel to soak up fat or just put on a plate to cool. Eat when slighly cooled (so not to burn your tongue). Buen provecho!