My favorite way to eat plátanos is tostones: Puerto Rico’s burn-your-tongue, golden-brown plantain fritters. So super-crispy and salty good. They are made from young, bright-green plantains. Fry them twice in vegetable oil, add a dash of salt and adobo, and you’re in tostón heaven.
Latinos love plátanos for so many good razones. Let us count the ways: They’re delicious. They’re filling. They keep forever. They’re inexpensive. They’re easy to cook. They don’t need refrigeration. They’re good for you: with lots of fiber; vitamins: A, C and B-6; and magnesium and potassium. They can be eaten alone as a side and cooked in stews—and even served as dessert.
¿Ya ves? Plantains truly are la comida perfecta.
How to Buy & Peel Plátanos
When buying plantains to make tostones, go for the greenest you can find. If they are hinting at turning yellow you can use them, but they are not ideal. If they are fully yellow, don’t buy them or make maduros instead. They will likely be too sweet for tostones. Fully black? No go.
To peel, take your green plátano, slice a thin wheel off the top and the bottom skin. Make a shallow slice vertically, along its full length: top to bottom. And peel. If you are lucky, the skin will come off easily. If it doesn’t, as sometimes happens to all of us (it’s luck of the draw)—and the hard skin doesn’t come off—you might need to use a peeler, like you would with a potato. Just go ahead and scrape it off.
Next: Slice your naked plátano into 2/3-inch thick rounds, with straight edges. Don’t go thinner than this. Skinny plantain chunks will dry out when fried and lose their crispy-on-the-outside, molten-on-the-inside flavor.