It’s hard to pick what I miss most about Nicaragua, but eating plantains with every meal is definitely up there on the list.
If you haven’t had plantains before, they’re like a banana except larger, and you can cook the unripened ones. They’re a staple in countries throughout Central America and the Caribbean, and help make up part of a substantial meal.
I’ve always enjoyed plantains, but I’d never tried to make them myself. They can be prepared a number of ways, but I’ve got a soft spot for tostones – fried plantains that have been flattened into little discs. Shoutout to my friend Luci for advising me to fry these in coconut oil!
You’ll just need plantains, coconut oil, and salt.
Use green, unripe plantains. The one I have below was actually a little riper than I’d like, so some of my tostones didn’t hold up too well during the frying process.
Peel the plantain by making cuts lengthwise through the peel, and removing it in sections. If any parts of the skin are stuck to the flesh, use a paring knife to scrape it off (wow, that sounds serial killer-y) . Then cut these into 1 inch circles:
Heat up your oil so there’s about half an inch in the pan. Keep the heat on medium and carefully add your plantains, frying for a few minutes on each side until they’re just cooked through.
Remove the plantains and drain them on paper towels. Once they’ve cooled, lay them out on wax paper or parchment paper. Add another layer of paper on top of that and use something heavy to press down on the plantains to form little discs:
You don’t want them to be too thin.
Add these back to the oil for just a minute or so, so they’re nice and golden all over.
Drain them on paper towels again and immediately sprinkle with salt.
And now you have a perfect side dish! I ate mine with some black beans, avocado, and salsa.