Thursday, January 16, 2014

Patacones



I have a friend that has done his best the past week or two to make me as jealous as possible. He has posted pic after pic of he and his family on their travels through Costa Rica. The monkeys....the beaches...the beautiful scenery, oh my! His dad's side of the family is from there but he hails from Tulsa, OK (Okie Pride!) so we had an instant connection when we met on a gig several months back. 

When I honeymooned in Costa Rica three years ago we were introduced to an appetizer that was a delicious twice-fried, smashed plantain served with a trio of toppings. I have tried for a while to remember what that dish was called so that I could share it with you but all I got was one big brain fart. Thank goodness for Costa Rican friends with Costa Rican grandmothers because one text to Tico and not only did he remind me that they were called "Patacones" (pronounced Pat-a-cone-es) his grandmother had whipped up a batch and offered some tips! (Lucky for me...and y'all!) 

2 Plantains (green with a little yellowing)
2 cups vegetable or canola cooking oil
4 cups water
olive oil
salt and pepper
Black Bean Spread (recipe below)
Guacamole Spread (recipe below)
Simple Salsa (recipe below)

I'll explain more in depth below but I have been told how to make these two different ways. The first one starts with frying the plaintain peices, smashing them, and then frying them again. Tico's grandmother said that she learned from a great restaurant that you should boil them first, then smash them and then only fry them once. I used Tico's grandmother's version today and they turned out great. I think they are even better than the twice-fried method because the center stays a little softer and they keep better (twice-fried patacones got rock hard when they cooled)

Start by peeling your plantains. If you have never worked with plantain before, you can search Youtube for some videos to help you understand the peeling process a little better but these are the steps:

  • Cut both ends off of your plantains
  • Using a small sharp knife, make slits from end to end just through the skin of the plaintain on the "corners" or ridges that go down the sides of the plantains.
  • Use your fingers to lift the edge of the skin and slide your thumb or fore-finger down the plantain to loosen the skin from the flesh. Continue until the plantain is completely peeled. 
  • Repeat until all plantain are peeled
Next you will boil the plantain for approximately 10 minutes until it is warmed all the way through. Have your cooking oil hot and ready. Remove one piece at a time from the boiling water and coat in olive oil. Use the bottom of a glass liquid measuring cup or a drinking glass to smash the plantain (no need to be overly forceful). 



Place directly into hot oil and fry until medium golden brown. Repeat until all pieces are done. 


Serve alongside the spreads and toppings below!



Black Bean Spread
1 can black beans
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic paste (or minced garlic)
salt and pepper

Blend in a blender and heat thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste.


Guacamole Spread
1 avocado, removed from skin, pit removed
2 tsp lime juice
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together, mashing with a fork to break down big chunks. Salt and pepper to taste.


Simple Salsa
1 tomato
1/4 tsp garlic paste (or minced garlic)
1 small handful cilantro (stems removed)
3 Tbsp chopped onion
1 small jalapeno

Blend all ingredients in a blender on low. Salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy! XOXO~

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