Considering this blog is flooded with plantain recipes, it might surprise you that this is the first time I've posted a recipe for tostones! And since I've kept you waiting, I'll sweeten the deal with a quick and easy Blender Mango Salsa to dip the tostones in.
Not that you need to dip tostones. They're absolutely brilliant on their own, too.
What are tostones? Essentially they're twice-fried plantains, a piece of Puerto Rican culinary genius. I'd guess tostones are most peoples' first venture into the wonderful world of plantains. Not hard, simple ingredient list, but oh-so-addictive. Once you get on the tostone train, it's difficult to get off.
Fried, Smashed, Fried Again
^ That pretty succinctly sums up the steps to tostones. You've just got to slice up those plantains first.
For tostones, you can use green or green-yellow plantains. If they're a little riper, the tostones will end up a little sweeter and they're easier to smash before the second fry. If your plantains are browning, though, you're better off making pan-fried plantain patties or a flourless plantain skillet brownie.
Green (unripe) plantains can be a challenge to peel, so listen up! Here's my method: I slice off the ends of the plantain. Then I make a vertical cut through the peel. Next, I horizontally slice the plantain to my desired thickness for whatever recipe I'm making. Finally, I remove the peel from each individual chunk. Easy peasy!
One of my biggest flaws is that I'm awful at eyeballing certain things...like how thick I'm really slicing my plantains. Without fail, I think I'm slicing them 1 inch thick, but in reality they're closer to 2 inches. Don't worry—this won't wreck your tostones! They'll just end up a little rougher around the edges when you smash them (since you'll be smashing them more than if they were thinner to start with). You end up with rustic-looking tostones. Not a bad thing.
Want tips for smashing the plantains after the first fry? I usually put them between two sheets of parchment paper and press down firmly with a mason jar. With the parchment paper, they don't stick and you don't have to clean the jar. Yay! I've heard some cooks say they use a tortilla press (with parchment paper) and I'm definitely throwing one onto my next Amazon order so I can give it a try.
After you fry 'em up, sprinkle the tostones with some coarse salt and you're good to go. They make a great side dish for practically anything, but I especially encourage you to make them with pulled pork or a taco bowl. Or serve them with dip, like pico de gallo, chimmichurri, or the blender mango salsa recipe included here!
Now that it's warmer out, I'm definitely craving mangoes (my favorite fruit!) but I realized I already have a recipe for mango salsa. Why not put a new spin on it? I've been intrigued by blender salsas, which save a big hunk of time. I spend a huge amount of my free time in the kitchen, so using the blender to avoid more chopping is simply smart.
I'll wholly admit that blender salsa doesn't look as pretty as nicely chopped and diced salsa, but boy was it easy and hella delicious! The mango certainly comes through here. This made a great dip for tostones, but can be used on tacos, eggs, chicken...you know, just about anything.
Tostones with Blender Mango SalsaPrint
For the Blender Mango Salsa
- 1 large mango, chopped
- 4 roma tomatoes, quartered
- ½ cup diced red onion
- ¼ cup tightly packed fresh cilantro
- Juice from 1 lime
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded, ribbed and chopped
For the Tostones
- 2 large green-yellow plantains
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- First, prepare the salsa. Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor and give it a good stir with a spatula. (Don’t skip the stir - that makes sure the ingredients blend more evenly.)
- Pulse in 1 second increments, stirring with a spatula in between, until the salsa is blended to your liking. It won’t be as chunky as, say, pico de gallo, but you can still end up with a chunkier salsa if that’s what you’re after. Pour the salsa into a jar or container and refrigerate while you make the tostones.
- To make the tostones, first peel and cut the plantains. Slice off the tips of the plantains. Cut a slit vertically through the outer peel of each plantain. Slice the plantains into 2” discs and pull off the peel (it should be easy because of the vertical cut you made).
- Melt the coconut oil in a cast iron pan or other deep skillet over medium-high heat. To test if the oil is hot enough, wet your fingers and flick a bit of water into the oil. If the water sizzles immediately, the oil is ready! Place plantain chunks into the oil and fry for 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove plantains to a paper towel-lined plate. Place the fried plantains between two sheets of parchment paper. Using the bottom of a glass, smash the plantain chunks until they are about ½ inch thick. Return the smashed plantains to the oil and fry for an additional 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove to the paper towel-lined plate, sprinkle with sea salt, and let cool.
- Once the tostones have cooled, serve with the blender mango salsa.
Keywords: Tostones with Blender Mango Salsa