Some people might say I was a picky eater as a kid. That would be putting it mildly. I was stubborn and unyielding. I refused to eat some of the most basic food groups, such as fruits, vegetables, and anything remotely healthy in appearance. What kid doesn’t like STRAWBERRIES or CORN? Well, me.
It’s a wonder I survived at all. I attribute my survival to my mother’s kindness. Most dinners would end with me sitting alone at the table until I “finished all of my food” (which, mind you, normally consisted of the tiniest portions of vegetables and meat you can picture). I would sit stubbornly at the table for at least an hour—sometimes more—until one of my parents would walk by, shake their head in disgust and resignation, and tell me to “just throw away your plate.”
Then I would head to my room and invariably get hungry before bedtime. My mom would save me by bringing me some toast and hot cocoa (something I actually loved to eat). This went on for years.
I look back now and have to wonder why I was so picky. I like to think that I have a sensitive, refined palate, and I was simply prepping myself for the gourmet, tasty foods I crave today. It’s probably that. Or I was just picky. We’ll never know.
This recipe for Puerto Rican plantain tostones is one I refused to eat as a kid. They are even fried, but I still refused to eat them. They are a salty snack (as good as American french fries). Enjoy!
Start with green plantains.
Slice them up and let them sit in salt water.
Fry them in your fat of choice.
Drain on paper towels and flatten them with the palm of your hands.
Fry a second time until golden brown and crispy.
Sprinkle with salt and serve hot.
Makes about 18
3 green plantains
4 cups water
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons salt
oil for deep-frying
more salt for sprinkling
Peel and slice each plantain into about 6 slices. (Yes, they will be thick, but you flatten them later.) Add the water to a large bowl, and stir in the garlic and salt. Soak the plantain slices for at least 15 minutes. Drain plantains (but reserve the salt water) and deep-fry in fat, heated to 300 to 350 degrees F for about 7 minutes. Remove plantains and dry on paper towels. Flatten plantain slices by folding a piece of paper over the hot slice and flattening with the palm of your hand or the bottom of a flat drinking glass.
Dip slices in the salted water again, remove immediately, drain well, and return to hot oil until golden brown and crispy, about 5 more minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot. These are best when eaten the same day.
Adapted from Puerto Rican Cookery