I’m totally not supposed to be
eating these.

November 4, 2011 · 7 comments


See how fun this will be? My blog will become a confessional booth, wherein I ask you to absolve all of my lapses. Perhaps my penance will involve re-scribing, by hand, the sidebar notes from Nourishing Traditions.

All in all, relatively, yesterday’s backslide was not a bad one. I am supposed to be avoiding starches — any and all starchy fruits and vegetables — and these somewhat-greenish plantains were definitely still starchy. But I only ate four five of them. Cross my heart, hope to die.

Confessions aside, I don’t know how I’ve not posted about plantains before. They were my side-dish-of-choice at our favorite Cuban/SoAmerican/BeautifullyBizarro restaurant in Athens. Plantains are a firmer, starchier relative of the banana, and unlike their cousin “dessert bananas,” are usually eaten cooked. I prefer them very ripe (almost totally black skin), quartered and fried in butter and coconut oil, served as maduros, as a side to black bean dishes. But the fresh plantains I picked up on Monday were not fully ripe yesterday, and greener plantains are better suited to double-frying, served as tostones.

(By the way, it seems that preferring my plantains sweet is a very American, gauche thing in the eyes of the plantain purist. Oh well, having already revealed my true nature, this is the least of my worries.)


Turns out, even with double-frying, tostones are pretty easy (though pent-up frustration is helpful during the smashing step, and a candy thermometer is handy as well). They are just the thing to take a plain Central- or South-American inspired meal (a.k.a., in my house, Brazilian Black Beans) from ho-hum to interesting. Or, as my 8-year old likes to say, fancy.

Or even better still, diet-breaking.


Recipe: Tostones (fried green plantains)

(adapted from this recipe at 3 Guys From Miami)

serves 4 as a side


  • 2 plantains, a bit “green” (mine were yellow and brown, and still quite firm)
  • 1/2 cup (or more) refined coconut oil
  • sea salt


  1. Trim the ends of the plantains, and score skin lengthwise with a knife in 3-4 places. Peel off sections of skin — this is more difficult the greener the fruit.
  2. Chop plantains crosswise into 1-inch chunks.
  3. In a cast-iron skillet or dutch oven, add an inch of coconut oil and heat to 300º on a candy thermometer (this is quite hot, but not smoking). Add chunks in a single layer, and cook for 2 minutes without stirring.
  4. Flip chunks (they can stick a bit) and cook another 2 minutes (do not allow them to brown). Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  5. Place each chunk on a flat end. Cover with a small piece of parchment or wax paper, and using the end of a glass. smash each piece so that it’s about 1/2″ thick.
  6. Increase heat of oil to about 375º. Add flattened pieces to hot oil, frying for about a minute on each side, or until golden brown. Remove to a fresh paper towel-lined plate.
  7. Salt immediately & generously (this is best done when plantains are still damp from the cooking oil).
  8. Serve immediately, these do not keep well.

Copyright © Katy Carter, 2011.

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kelly November 5, 2011 at 11:40 am

Remind me – why are you doing this diet?

katy November 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm

It’s a gut-healing diet, that can help long-term w/ myriad problems that normally seem completely unattached to diet. It’s unique in that it’s not a lifestyle diet (i.e., raw vegan or low-carb or any other diet that you’re supposed to do forever). This one takes a while — I should probably plan to be on it for at least a year — but once your gut is healed you can reintroduce foods that you’ve been avoiding.

katy November 7, 2011 at 6:20 am

here’s a good synopsis of the diet, if you’re interested ; )

Nancy November 6, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I’m with Kelly. You need to clarify that for me, too.

Also, tell me something about coconut oil – does it add a noticeable coconut flavor to foods? I have a recipe for granola bars that calls for some but I don’t like a pronounced coconut taste.

katy November 6, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Nancy, see response above re: diet ; )

Good question on coconut oil. You can buy refined coconut oil (I buy it by the gallon from Wilderness Family Naturals) that is still of the same fatty-acid structure, but lacks the enzymes of raw coconut oil. But it’s what I use most often in cooking, because it doesn’t taste like coconut. I still have a small jar of raw coconut oil on hand for using when the coconut flavor is appropriate (in my kitchen, not very often), and too get the unique benefits of the unrefined oil.

Stephanie November 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm

OMG, Katy! I am so glad you broke your diet and had to write a confessional to bring us a recipe for these. As a lover of said Cuban/SoAmerican/BeautifullyBizarro restaurant, I also love frying stuff at home. And tostones are the best fried things ever (besides okra and chicken). Thank you!

katy November 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm

so glad I could oblige, broken diet and all ; )

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