Plantains are often fried when they are green and underripe. In Puerto Rico these are called tostones, in Mexico plátanos fritos. They are first fried in slices, then flattened with a pan or mallet and fried again. Another popular Puerto Rican plantain dish is maduros or amarillos, sliced ripe plantains fried in oil. This recipe also uses ripe plantains but they are rolled in fresh bread crumbs to create a crispy exterior. Although quite a bit of oil is called for in this recipe, the plantains absorb only a small portion of it. They are good served with a dipping bowl of hot sauce.
- 2 yellow or black medium-ripe plantains
- 6 slices white or whole-wheat sandwich bread
- ½ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- ½ cup canola oil or corn oil
- Salt to taste
1. Cut 3 slits down the length of each plantain skin, without cutting into the flesh. Cut the ends off the plantain, then peel away the skin in 3 long strips. Cut each plantain diagonally into 8 pieces.
2. Cut the crusts off the bread slices. Lightly toast the bread, then either chop it fine or whirl it in a food processor to make bread crumbs. Put the bread crumbs onto a large plate, and stir in the pepper.
3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Dredge the plantains in the bread crumbs, pressing the plantains into the crumbs so they stick. When the oil is hot, add one plantain slice. If it burns on the bottom after 10 seconds or so, then the oil is too hot; adjust the heat as necessary. Add as many plantain slices as will fit in the pan without crowding. When the slices are golden brown on the bottom, turn them over. Cook them until they are golden on the other side. With a slotted spoon, transfer the fried plantains to paper towels. Continue cooking until all of the slices are fried, keeping the cooked slices in a warm oven for up to 20 minutes, if necessary.
4. Salt the fried plantains, and serve them immediately with a small bowl of your favorite hot sauce.