Sometimes, my favorite “new” recipes are just mash-ups of old standbys. It’s kind of like when you look in your closet and suddenly realize that you can pair a favorite cardigan with a treasured skirt for a chic #OOTD. (To be honest, I have no idea what this is like in real life ’cause I only wear sweats and threadbare 20-year-old T-shirts from Gap Outlet, but you catch my drift.)
Along these lines, one of my fab new/old pairings is Fried Green Plantains with Mango + Avocado Salsa. I wish I could say I came up with this recipe revamp, but it was actually suggested to me when I was planning the menu for my Fresh Starts Chef Event dinner. I loved the idea so much that I’m gonna take all the credit for it.
Even though these recipes are already separately listed in my Recipe Index, I think it’s mean of me to make you click back and forth between two of my old posts, so I reshot ’em and smooshed both recipes together into one post. I’ve also added tips on how I like to slice mangos and juice limes like a boss. Time to level up your snacks, Nomsters!
Serves 4-6 people
For the fried green plantains (a.k.a tostones or patacones):
- 4 cups coconut oil, lard, or tallow
- 4 green plantains (around 2 pounds)
- kosher salt
For the Mango + Avocado Salsa:
- 2 cups diced ripe mango (about 2 mangos)
- 1 cup diced Hass avocado (1 medium avocado)
- ½ cup finely diced red onion
- ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- big pinch of kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Juice from 1 lime
- 6-quart Dutch oven
- Instant-read thermometer
- Cutting board
- Chef’s knife
- Meat pounder
- Cooling rack
- Vegetable peeler
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
Make the fried plantains first ’cause the salsa only takes a few minutes to throw together.
Heat your fat of choice in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until it reaches 325˚F. (Yes, I recommend checking the temperature with your trusty thermometer.)
In the meantime, cut the ends off the plantains. (Tip: make sure you use super-green plantains. If you spot only ripe, splotchy, yellow-brown plantains on display at the market, be sure to ask your friendly produce guy or gal if they have some green ones in the back.)
Use a sharp knife to cut a shallow line down the length of each plantain, making sure you don’t cut into the fruit. Then, slice each plantain into three even pieces (about 2 inches in length). Yes, you can definitely cut them into smaller pieces but I like BIG patacones (or tostones).
When the oil reaches 325˚ F, carefully lower the plantains into the shimmering fat. The oil should immediately start bubbling around the plantains as soon as it comes in contact. Fry the plantain pieces for 3 to 5 minutes, turning them occasionally, until they turn golden yellow. Transfer the fried plantains to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain off any excess oil.
Next, it’s time to smash.
Place a fried plantain between two pieces of parchment paper. Smash it with a meat pounder, tortilla press, or a small cast iron skillet—or just about anything else that’s flat and heavy—until you end up with a thin (about ¼-inch thick) plantain patty. Repeat until you’ve taken out your aggression on all the fried plantain pieces.
Make sure the patties aren’t too thin; otherwise, they’ll fall apart when you fry them. But try to pound them thin enough so that they’ll get properly crunchy.
Bring the temperature of the fat up to 350˚ F, and fry the plantain pancakes in the oil until crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Don’t overcrowd the oil: fry about two to three smashed plantains at a time.
These crunchy treats are done when you flick ’em with your fingers and they sound hard and hollow. (Pro tip: take them out of the hot oil before you flick them.)
Transfer the fried plantains to a metal cooling rack and repeat the steps above with the rest of the batch.
Sprinkle coarse salt on top and start making the salsa.
Grab two ripe mangos and dice them up. I like to peel off the skin first with a vegetable peeler and then cut a slice on either side of the flat seed in the center. I also trim off some of the extra flesh on the side of the seed to snack on.
Place the diced mango in a bowl and add in the cubed avocado…
…½ cup finely diced red onion, ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro…
…2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, a big pinch of kosher salt…
…and ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes.
Get a lime and cut a slice parallel to the center. Continue cutting slices around the center core – the center pith and seeds will be trapped in a tidy column that you can squeeze and toss.
Squeeze the lime juice and marvel at how much easier it is to get every bit of juice out this way!
Toss the ingredients to combine, and taste and adjust for seasoning.
This salsa tastes great on any protein (e.g. salmon, chicken, pork, etc.)…
…but it’s especially amazing spooned on a crispy fried green plantain.
If you don’t want to share, it’s totally understandable.
Don’t forget that you can always get a printer-friendly, photo-free version of any recipe by clicking on the printer icon in the top left corner or on the cartoon of the Double-Os at the bottom of the post. Now get cooking!
Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my Webby Award-Winning iPhone® and iPad® app, and in my New York Times-bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel 2013).