I recently had an epic night of hanging out with my friends Madeline and Julio at their apartment in Crown Heights drinking beer, dancing to Prince and drunkenly finishing up the night watching Key and Peele. Julio and I were discussing the glory of eating fried Puerto Rican specialties, such as cuchifritos, empanadas and tostones while drinking beer and maybe had we made these, the following morning would have been far less painful. These tostones are also an awesome accompaniment to Cuban roast pork or black beans and rice for non-flesh eaters.
4 cloves garlic 1 sour orange* ¼ cup sour orange juice* ¼ cup olive oil A few sprigs cilantro, chopped Pinch ground cumin Salt Black pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 sour orange*
¼ cup sour orange juice*
¼ cup olive oil
A few sprigs cilantro, chopped
Pinch ground cumin
3 green plantains
Canola oil, for frying
To make the Mojo, start by making a paste with the garlic by mincing it very fine with salt. Using the blade of a knife, press down on top of the garlic/salt mixture and mush it around on the cutting board. Follow this by scraping the mixture into a mound, running the knife over it a few times, then mushing again. Continue until a paste forms and put it in a bowl.
To chop the sour orange, slice each end off and peel the orange from top to bottom using a knife to remove all the white pith. Then, working over a bowl, carefully remove the sour orange segments by making an incision on both sides of the flesh and cut out the segment. This method of removing the citrus segments while leaving behind the skin and connective tissue is called “supreming” or “to supreme” an orange. Squeeze any excess juice into the bowl with the garlic paste. Roughly chop the segments into small pieces and add to the bowl. Squeeze another sour orange into the bowl if more juice is needed and add the olive oil, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside.
To peel the plantains, make a lengthwise incision just through the skin of the fruit, making sure not to score the flesh. Peel back the skin and discard.
Cut the plantains into 1 inch-thick rounds.
Add enough oil to a deep skillet to come halfway up the sides of the plantains. Heat to about 300 degrees or until the plantains lightly sizzle when in the pan.
Working in batches, cook the plantains for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they are lightly golden brown. Remove from the skillet and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Using a tostonera or the bottom of a can or glass, press the plantain into a craggy disc.
Increase the heat of the oil in the skillet to about 350 degrees, adding more oil if necessary. Fry the plantains again until crispy and golden brown, about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove them from the oil and drain on fresh paper towels. Season liberally with salt and enjoy with the Mojo sauce.
*Note: Sour oranges, also known as Sevillle oranges are commonly found in Latin markets. Practice up on your Spanish skills and ask for “naranja agria”. If, unlike me, you don’t enjoy spending an afternoon hunting down crazy ingredients, you may substitute equal parts orange and lime. However, while on the search for a sour orange, you might find new and exciting ingredients that will inspire you for your next culinary adventure.