It was very ironic that Joanne picked Puerto Rico for this month’s installment of Regional Recipes, since my girl Ginny had just recently been there for a conference and had come back all atwitter about the food. Specifically about plantains.
If you recall, shortly after she got back, she came for a visit and we made Mofongo (a dish made from roasted plantains) and spicy shrimp.
More recently, I took a trip myself, to Baltimore for a visit with the family. We spent one day at the bay and I had a wonderful plate of Tostones with Crab Salmorejo at a local bar & grill.
SO, when I saw that our theme for this month was Puerto Rico (I say “our” as if I had anything to do with it – this is the first month I’ll even be participating!), I had one thing in mind.
Shockingly, even in my little berg, where I normally have trouble finding some of the most basic ingredients, plantains can often be found at the local Walmart. I grabbed a couple up, and set to work.
First, I took a page from my MEF’s book and made a wonderfully aromatic Garlic Mojo (a la Rick Bayless) which consists of roasting the cloves from four heads of garlic (yes, I said FOUR HEADS of garlic) in olive oil until soft, then mixing in some fresh lime juice and roasting a little longer before removing it from the oven and pureeing it.
For the Tostones, you just peel your green plantains (I don’t recommend using plantains that are overly ripe as the sugars lend them to burning in the pan), and slicing them into sections 1 to 1 ½ inches long.
Sautee the pieces gently in olive oil, then turn them on their ends and use a heavy bottomed glass to press them flat. Then, return them to the pan for a second turn at frying. A little salt and pepper is a nice addition at this point.
I served these little gems up with rice and black beans. For the dipping sauce, I used some of my lovely Garlic Mojo and topped it with a spoonful of my own homemade Hot Pepper Sauce.
This was a tasty little treat to enjoy while sitting out on the deck last night, a cold bottle of beer in hand, after an exhausting weekend of organizing the hubs’ auction and checking the FOID cards of potential bidders.
This is one dish you don’t even need a recipe for and it goes together in just minutes (unless you have to cook the beans, that is). Enjoy!