Tag Archives: plátano verde

Arañitas de Plátano

10 Dic

Esta receta estaba supuesta a que publicara cerca de Halloween… ustedes saben, el juego de palabras de las “arañitas” con las criaturas arácnidas tan emblemáticas de la temporada. El nombre en el post es un poco redundante para los puertorriqueños que nos leen, pero quise especificar que estas “arañas” están hechas de plátano para el beneficio de los lectores del resto de Latinoamérica. Posiblemente pudiésemos también llamarles unos niditos de plátano, haciendo la receta una perfecta para la Pascua Florida.

Esta es otra de las 1,001 maneras en que comemos plátano en Puerto Rico. Los tostones son la manera más popular de comer plátanos verdes, especialmente porque se pueden preparar de antemano. Por el contrario, las arañitas son algo que no se pueden congelar y freír más tarde. No saben igual. Esto es algo que rayas, sazonas, fríes y comes – una cosa detrás de la otra.

Usualmente fríes las arañitas en un sartén con aceite… de la misma manera que fríes platanutres o chicharritas de plátano. Pero aunque soy Latina y esa “mancha de plátano” y amor por todas las frituras no hay quien me lo quite, no me gusta para nada estar limpiando el reguero de grasa que se forma cada vez que fríes en la estufa. Así que encontré una manera de cómo obtener una arañita crujiente y deliciosa sin tener que freír en mucho aceite.

Así es como las preparo…

ARAÑITAS de Plátano

1 plátano verde, pelado
1 cda de aceite de canola
Sal de Ajo

 

  1. Después que pelas el plátano verde, lo rallamos del lado largo del plátano. Trato de rallar para que me queden pedacitos largos de plátano.
  2. En un bowl mediano, combina el plátano rallado, el aceite y la sal de ajo. Mézclalo todo bien para que te asegures que el plátano está cubierto de aceite y está bien sazonado.

3.  Calienta un sartén non-stick a fuego medio-bajo. Coloca puñaditos de plátano en el sartén, sin que se peguen.. el fuego lento ayudará a que el plátano del centro de cada puñadito se cocine bien. Eventualmente, la parte de afuera se pondrá crujiente. Vira cada puñadito de plátano cuando veas que ya el centro se está poniendo amarillito.

Ves por qué les podemos llamar también niditos de plátano????

4.  Mantén el fuego en médium-low. Las arañitas se pondrán crujientes por fuera y se volverán doraditas. Ten paciencia.

5.  Sácalas del sartén y ponlas a “escurrir” en un papel toalla. Ellas no botan mucho aceite, pero es mejor hacerlo que comerse aceite de más.

 

Sírvelas por el lado de tu plato puertorriqueño favorito – como macarrones con picadillo de soya, arroz con gandules o como crutones sobre una ensalada.

 

Tostón Sandwich

19 Mar

I am sooooo proud of Iván Avilés…  he was the winner in the Comfort Foods episode of Ultimate Recipe Showdown, a new Food Network cooking competition where regular cooks, just like you and me, compete to see who has the Ultimate recipe in a series of categories.

And why I could be proud of Iván specifically??  He’s Boricua (another word for Puerto Rican, derived from Borinquen, the original indigenous name of Puerto Rico) and he won with his Boricua Plantain Sandwich.  It’s not vegetarian, but it did remind me of a sandwich my friend Tania taught me how to make a few years back.  I was so surprised to see Iván use TOSTONES as the «bread» for the sandwich, something I had only seen Tania do.

Tostones (which are also called patacones in South America) are twice fried mashed green plantains.  Tostones are a staple in Puerto Rican cooking and for people trying to «get away from the carbs» are a great bread substitution in this sandwich.  But less carbs does not mean less fat – I did tell you these are TWICE FRIED, no?

Let me give you the play by play to making my vegetarian version of the Tostón Sandwich…

 

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 TOSTON SANDWICH

1 green plantain, peeled
2 small strips of firm tofu – you can definitely used extra firm here, but never the silken kind
1/4 onion, sliced
Garlic Salt
1/4 cup Tamari Sauce
Ketchup
Canola Oil for frying

 

  1. Take the tofu pieces and press them in between 2-3 good paper towels or napkins (I use Bounty) to drain away most of the liquid.  I place then in between 2 small baking sheets and weigh using something heavy.  I change the paper towel at least once.  meanwhile…
  2. Peel the green plantain.  Remember that green plantains, just like green bananas, have a sap (mancha).  Remember to oil the knife you’re using to peel the plantain so the sap does not adhere to the knife.  Follow the method I showed you for the green bananas here.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat about 1 cup of canola oil over medium high heat.   Just make sure the skillet is wide enough that will fit your plantain.  If your plantain is on the small side, by all means, use a smaller skillet.  You need enough oil to cover the plantains halfway, more or less. 
  4. Cut the plantain in half lengthwise, making two long halves.
  5. Make sure the oil is hot enough.  Rachael Ray taught me to dip the end of a wooden spoon into the oil.  If the oil bubbles around the spoon, the oil is ready.  I love this tip.
  6. Fry the plantain halves for about 5 minutes.  What you’re looking for is to cook the plantain, add some color to it, but without getting it crispy.
  7. Take the partially fried plantain halves out of the oil and using either two heavy plates or two small baking sheets, smash them flat.   If using baking sheet, place a kitchen towel on top so the heat does not transfer to your hand.  Keep the oil in the hot stove, you will use it again.  Sorry I don’t have a picture of this, but I was by myself making this and I could not smash and photograph at the same time.  This is the already-smashed plantain…
  8. After smashing the plantains, re-immerse the smashed plantain halves in the hot oil to finish frying. 
  9.  

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  10. This time, the end result should be a golden and crispy plantain halve – this is a Toston.  Tostones typically are made the exact same way with the exception that instead of being cut lengthwise, you cut the plantain in 1 inch round slices.
  11. Drain the finished tostones on a paper towel and sprinkle some garlic salt to season them.  Keep the aside while you make the fillings.  They need to cool off a bit if you don’t want to burn the roof of your mouth.
  12. Drain the skillet of the hot oil CAREFULLY and in that same hot skillet with some of the remaining oil on it,  place the drained tofu pieces and the onion slices.  The object of this is to smother the onions and to cook the tofu and for it to dry out a bit.  Add some garlic salt to the onions to season them.
  13. When tofu slices have gained some yellowy color (they will not change color very dramatically), dunk them in the tamari sauce for a few minutes.  Return them to the skillet to finish «frying».
  14. Now we assemble – Place the wider tostón half on a plate, place tofu pieces, squirt some ketchup, place smothered onions, squirt some extra ketchup and top with the remaining tostón half. 

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Mmmmmm!!!!!

 

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I have also made this with fried white cheese instead of the tamari-marinated tofu.  It tastes delicious!!!  If you fry the tostones in hot enough oil and drain them, they will be crunchy, but not oily.

I had not done this sandwich in a long time… so I thank Iván and the Ultimate Recipe Showdown for reminding me.   And even it’s not vegetarian, you can taste an adaptation of Iván’s sandwich at your local TGIFriday’s restaurant.  They’re made with sweet ripe plantains, which is a different «ball game», but still you can come out and support my fellow Boricua!!!