Tostones may or may not be the ultimate Whole30 and Paleo side dish. You may have come across these tostones in my recipe for Mojo Roast Pork Shoulder. If not, be sure to go have a look so that you have an idea of how I love to serve this delicious side dish. Don’t get me wrong, tostones can most definitely be eaten on their own. I warn you, though. These are addictive and before you know it you will have gorged on a few dozen golden crispy bites of heaven. Also, if you are doing a round of Whole30 snacking and grazing are best avoided so it’s a good idea to incorporate these into a meal that is complete with protein and veggies. These would also go really well with my Mexican Braised Beef if pork is not your thing. When I’m not on a round of Whole30 I will make tostones every now and then as a snack but have to keep a close eye on my consumption.
It used to be very difficult to come across plantains in my neighbourhood, north of Toronto. I live in what used to be a predominantly eastern European and Jewish suburb that has only recently seen an influx in different cultures. Persians, Koreans, Chinese, and Philippinos have slowly settled around me and my theory is that the rise in multiculturalism has spurred on a new variety in produce being offered at the local markets. This makes me very, very happy! 10 years ago you would have to go to a Latino grocer to find a plantain in Toronto. Grocers just didn’t stock them in the burbs because no one was buying them. Nowadays I’ve got everything from plantains, to dragon fruit, to curry leaf, to harissa, to dried Mexican chilies and just about everything in between. Sure, nearly all of it is imported and there is a case to be made for eating local. But that’s an entirely different conversation and uncle Ronny’s had a long day so how about we talk about it another time, OK?
There are a few things to consider when making Tostones.
- Tostones are made with green plantains. The green colour refers to the skin, not the flesh. The dark, almost black-skinned plantains are used for making Maduros, or sweet plantains, which are absolutely divine but a different side dish altogether.
- Tostones are not tostones unless they are double-fried. This is a very necessary step that you cannot skip. You must first lightly fry or blanch the plantains in hot oil and then smash them before sending them back to the skillet for a second oil bath.
- You will need a high-heat stable cooking oil. Coconut is great but that could get very expensive, very quickly. Coconut oil also adds a flavour that you may or may not want in your tostones. Avocado oil is my oil of choice. It’s got a high smoking point and is neutral in flavour. I recently noticed that Costco of all places sells Avocado oil at a very reasonable price. You may want to look into that as an option.
- You can shallow-fry or deep-fry. The latter will require more oil than necessary, which again means a higher cost. You will also likely toss all of the oil afterwards so I don’t advise deep frying. Instead, grab a cast-iron skillet or equally heavy-bottomed pan and shallow fry. You will. however, require enough oil to come at least halfway up the side of the frying plantains. Some of the oil will be absorbed by the plantains with each batch of cooking so be sure to keep an eye on the oil levels and top-up as required.
- Tostones go great with my Mojo sauce. You can also go for a mayo-based sauce but if you’re making the Mojo Roast Pork then you will already have made the Mojo so it only makes sense to stick with a single condiment. Or not. Do your thang!
For the tostones:
2 green plantains
1/2 cup avocado oil – possibly more depending on size of plantains
For the Mojo:
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ cup orange juice
juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp fresh oregano
2 tbsp fresh mint
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
For the Mojo Sauce (can be made ahead of time):
- In a blender, blend together garlic, coriander seeds, orange juice, lime juice, and olive oil. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl or mason jar along with finely chopped oregano, mint, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight if preparing ahead of time.
For the Tostones:
- Preheat a cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Allow skillet to warm for 60 seconds before adding avocado oil.
- Peel the plantains and cut into discs on a bias. Carefully add them to the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove and transfer to a tray lined with paper towel. Using the bottom of a cup or ramekin, gently smash each of the plantain discs.
- Return the smashed plantains back to the oil and fry for an additional 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy.
- Transfer fried tostones to the tray lined with paper towel and season with coarse sea salt immediately.
- Serve with Mojo sauce.