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Patacones Print E-mail

Ask for these tasty munchies wherever you go in Costa Rica. They are especially well done on the Caribbean side and in San José.

Basically, they are mashed and fried plantains. They are round, thicker than a corn chip, but served in the same way: to dip in salsa, guacamole, or frijoles molidos (pureed beans). A great vehicle also for whatever moves you hot sauce, garlic and olive oil, pesto, hummus? . An alternative appetizer (una boca) to try ?

Here is how to make them:

GATHER 4 green plantains (yellow or yellowish green plantains will vastly change the flavor; stick with the unripe, green ones), your closest bottle of vegetable or light olive oil and some salt.
PEEL the plantain: cut the tips off of each end; then carefully slice the skin down one side (taking care not to cut the plantain itself); pry the skin off with your fingers.
CUT the peeled plantain into 1 inch-thick (3 centimeter) chunks.
HEAT oil on medium heat until hot; fry the plantain pieces on both sides until they are golden.
FLATTEN the fried plantains, gently, to about ¼? - thick (1 centimeter) use the bottom of a glass, or a bowl, or a jar, or between 2 pieces of wax paper or plastic baggies. Press the plantains gently, or they will smash and stick to everything.
FRY again in the hot oil until both sides are golden brown, and crispy to your personal taste. Drain the fried plantains on a paper towel before serving, and sprinkle with a little salt for flavor.

SERVE with dips, melted cheese, hot peppers, scrambled tofu with tomatoes and onions. The ideas are wide open. They are a great side dish with grains or soups, and as appetizers (bocas).

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