|Tostones with chorizo, cilantro and lime juice|
I live in an area that has a heavy Hispanic influence, and as such I've had the opportunity to try many foods that I may never have had a chance to shop for much less eat.
Plantains are one of those plentiful-around-here foods, but I'd never cooked with them. After the final episodes of season four on Top Chef, I finally decided to give them a whirl. On the next-to-last episode of Top Chef, the chefs were given the task of coming up with frituras (or fried snacks) using plantains. I watched with interest and a bit of excitement, storing away the many uses they conjured up for the green banana look-alike.
One thing that two of the chefs did was to make tostones. They are, simply put, fried green plantain. I was intrigued, so I did a little reading about tostones and then went shopping to make my own version of an appetizer tostone.
What I found when I was reading were several recipes calling for dipping the plantains in salted water between fryings (they are fried twice), but I also found many Puerto Rican cooks debunking that notion. I decided to go with the cooks' idea and keep from the risk of having oil popping everywhere once the water-dipped plantain hit the hot pan. The result was fantabulous.
Tostones with Chorizo, Cilantro and Lime
Makes 24 appetizers
2 large green plantains
12 oz. chorizo
1 bunch fresh cilantro
several tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt to taste
oil for frying
Slit plantain skins and peel. Cut each plantain into 1 inch chunks - diagonally if you like - about 12 for each plantain. Heat oil over medium-high heat and fry each slice of plantain until lightly browned. Remove from oil and drain well.
Place each plantain between waxed paper or parchment and press down with a saucer until slices are 1/4 inch thick. You can also use a tostonera, a special press made just for tostones Put each slice back into the oil and fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove to paper toweling to drain well. Salt immediately.
When all tostones are fried, slice chorizo into 24 thin rounds and fry in the same oil until just lightly brown. Drain well.
Top each tostone with a cilantro leaf, a slice of chorizo and drizzle with lime juice.