Courtesy of Ann Tindell Keener annsfoodletters.blogspot.com
This is a segment of a food blog Ann wrote while living in Dominica, West
Indies. For those of you who have never cooked with plantains, you are in for a treat if
you like the flavor of bananas. Plantains are far more starchy than bananas and need to
be cooked. You may have had fried plantains as a restaurant or packaged. Freshly prepared,
they are really good! They are served as a savory, sometimes in a stew and other times fried as
tostones, or baked with butter and brown sugar and served with cinnamon and crema or
sour cream. Tostones are a favorite throughout the West Indies, the Caribbean, Mexico,
and Central and South America. The rest of this recipe is in Ann’s voice.
For The Tostones
You will need at least 2 plantains for the tostones. I’ve found that ones that are slightly
yellow are best. There is enough sugar in them to caramelize so they turn nice and
brown, but not so much that they get black and fall apart. Score the skin from top to
bottom in about three places and pull off the strips.
Cut the plantains on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices and soak the slices in salt water for
Fry the slices in oil at approximately 325 degrees F if you use a thermometer, until they
are golden brown. This is not the last step so they shouldn’t be fully cooked. Drain on a
paper bag or towels.
Pound the slices gently between pieces of wax paper using a mallet or a sturdy jar or cup,
until they are thin enough to be chip-like. Don’t pound them super thin as they will fall
Fry them a second time in hotter oil (I use brown coconut oil with a little olive oil mixed
in) until they are dark brown and look delicious. You can add salt to the oil if you choose
or salt the tostones after frying. Once again, drain them on paper.
Eggplant-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce
Take one medium-sized eggplant, split it lengthwise, and place it on a rimmed baking
sheet. Cut a piece of pumpkin (or other winter squash) about half the size of the eggplant
you are using, and add it to the baking sheet. Add 4 whole, un-skinned garlic cloves.
Drizzle all ingredients with a little coconut oil and place in a 350 degree F oven. Bake
until soft, about 30 minutes.
Scoop out the soft inside of the eggplant and remove the pumpkin’s skin, and place in a
blender or food processor. Pop the garlic cloves out of their skins and add to food
processor along with a sprig of rosemary, a clove of raw garlic, the juice of half a lemon
or lime, salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and just enough broth or water to create the
consistency of really thick soup.
Blend the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Taste the blend and adjust seasonings, and
add hot pepper flakes if desired.
Serve warm tostones with the dipping sauce and a cabbage-green papaya-carrot slaw.
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