Platanos Fritos

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I’m about as spanish as it gets. Just the other day, Pele called me up asking me all about Spanish stuff and all…I even enter “Hispanic” on all my applications, I don’t think it’s possible to get more hispanic than that, ammirite? Where am I going with this? Well to latin food heaven, that’s where…I’m talking about platanos fritos of course.

So it was my dad’s birthday this past week, and we had this whole shindig down here in Baltimore land, and as part of the surprise, we all decided it would be nice and nostalgic to make some latin grub for my pops, and I decided to make platanos fritos.

Platanos fritos is spanish for fried plantains, so right off the bat how bad can it be? I mean it’s fried…you could fry a bowling ball and it would be absolutely delicious.

If you’re wondering what plantains are, well did you ever walk past the bananas in the supermarket, and see these huge ugly green banana looking specimens? Well most likely what you encountered was the strange plantain. It looks like a banana, but because of it’s high starch content, it can’t really be eaten raw, so if raw is out, fried is in.

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Apparently there are a two types of plantains, green and yellow ones, the yellow types are sweeter, however they only had the green ones in the supermarket near me…at least I think it was the green ones, might have been yellow, who knows, not me. There are also different ways to prepare platanos fritos, but I wasn’t sure which one my dad was used to, so I just relied on good ole Alton Brown.

I started by peeling the plantains, which are a little tougher to peel than regular bananas.

Cut off the ends, and make two slits, and slide your thumb underneath the skin, and continue prying it off.

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Then cut it into thick rounds, about 1-2 inches thick.

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Then heat up your oil to 325 degrees, and fry each one for about 1-1.5 minutes a side.

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Once they’re done, here’s the cool part. Smash each one down to about half it’s size, a-likeso –

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Any old flat thingy will do, a bench scraper, a wooden spoon, a plate, a book, an 80s style flat top, whatever.

Ok then prepare a bowl of 2 cups water, 3 cloves garlic minced, and 2 teaspoons salt in a bowl, and drop the smashed plantains in there, and let it sit there for about a minute. You don’t want to leave it in there too long, so they don’t mushen up too much. After a minute, transfer them to a paper towel to dry them.

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Then guess what? We fry them again! Hooray for healthy food!

Bring the oil back to 325, and fry until it’s golden brown, and delicious, about 2-4 minutes per side.

Remove from the heat, on to a rack, and salt and pepper it up. It’s best to spice it right after it comes out of the pan, because as it cools, the oil will be absorbed back into the plantain, and will bring the salt and pepper with it.

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And that’s it.

One thing – this is one of those things that’s best eaten right away, and gets progressively worse as time goes on. (As the starch gets hot, it swells and absorbs water, but as it cools, as the starch stiffens up, think left over rice.)

Ole!

Platanos Fritos

Ingredients:

  • 2 green plantains
  • 1.5 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt.

Directions:

  1. Cut the plantains into 1-2 inch, and heat up the oil in a skillet to 325 degrees
  2. Fry the plantains 1 –1.5 minutes per side, until it softens, and place on cutting board, and smash down with whatever flat thing you’ve got on hand.
  3. Once they’re all smashed, mix together the water, garlic, and salt, and place the smashed plantains into the water for a minute.
  4. Transfer to a paper towel, and let them dry.
  5. Bring the oil back to 325 degrees, and fry the smooshed plantains once again, until they’re golden brown and awesome, about 2-4 minutes per side.
  6. Transfer to a rack, and salt and pepper them.
  7. Celebrate cinco de Mayo the right way.
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