This is Abbey’s husband again. So this is blog hijack #2, I guess. My first one can be found HERE. From time to time, Abbey asks me to step back into the kitchen and flex my knives again. I used to be a chef and I do still enjoy cooking very much. Though, Abbey will tell you, I’m not one for speed. I like taking my time.
One of our favorite meals is Friday night steak. And, there are a million ways to do it. But, to be truthful, we have a few variations that reign supreme in our opinion. One of them was inspired by one of our favorite restaurants in LA. No, it’s not a snobby, pretentious, typical LA joint. It’s a Brazilian place called Bossa Nova. And, the food was always amazing. Plus, they were open till 3am.
The steak there was always simple. Grilled flat iron steak. But, what made the steak so awesome was the side items. There was always a generous helping of salsa fresca, a giant bowl of overcooked black beans and some yucca flour for texture. But the main attraction was the fried plantains.
If you don’t know, and many Americans don’t; plantains are a member of the banana family that have more starch and less sugar. Now, that may sound like a downgrade from our beloved yellow fruit, but when cooked properly plantains are easily superior.
The secret is in picking the right plantain. Unlike bananas, when people tend to prefer them on the green-ish side, plantains are best when they are almost fully black. Even totally black plantains are not soft like a banana would be at this point in its life. So, get the darkest plantains you can find and get ready for one of the best side dishes on the planet. Typically, plantains are deep fried and are not much better for you than a candy bar. But, we’ve found a way to make them lighter and, honestly, more delicious.
Tostones (Fried Plantains), The Healthy(er) Way
* Plan on one plantain per person. Make a slit in the plantain, just through the skin, all the way down its side. Throw them in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute to soften them up.
* Heat 2 tablespoons of high-heat safe oil (canola, peanut, vegetable) in a pan to medium high heat.
* Remove the skins and slice the plantains into disks. Place them into the oil. Be careful not to crowd the pan (do them in batches of necessary).
* After a few minutes on each side, they should be golden brown. Give them a gentle smash, to make sure they’re fully cooked.
* Toss in a few pinches of salt and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Let the sugar melt and stir the plantains well.
How easy was that? You, of course, can add more salt and sugar to taste. They will melt in your mouth and quickly become one of your favorite side dishes. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. And, if you’re ever in the LA area, go try Bossa Nova’s version. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy yours just as much, especially knowing they are 500 times better for you.