Monday, December 7, 2009

Tostones con Mojo


I love making this cuban side dish of fried plantains for a few important reasons:
1. Garlic garlic garlic
2. And then you add more garlic
3. The plantains are fried, smushed, then fried again. DOUBLE FRIED PEOPLE. If you were in Cuba, it would probably be double fried in LARD.



This went with some not-so-special pork roast. I usually also make boiled yucca, but time was limited for me so the plantains were our starch. Green plantains, which seem too hard to be useful, actually behave a lot like a potato: softer when fried, then better WHEN FRIED AGAIN.
The dip for the appetizer, called mojo (mo*ho), is crazy simple:
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • AS MUCH GARLIC AS YOU WANT ( I used four large cloves)
I used my hand blender to puree these together. As I said, this is a really garlicky dish, but mojo specifically is one of those rare sauces where the garlic is meant to be burn-your-tongue fresh. The vegetable oil smooths it out, but this is definitely for garlic lovers. Also, a traditional mojo might have pork fat drippings in place of the some or all of the oil. I added some to this version, and it was delicious. Some of the mojo was the marinade for our pork, and half was reserved for fresh dipping. Once you heat it in a pan, the garlic will have less of a bite, but I like the burn.

So once the mojo is ready, throw into the fridge and start the tostones:

Peel and deep-fry 1.5" lengths of green plantain (brown/yellow is too sweet for this) until they turn a darker yellow, about 1 minute or less.

Now commences the smushing of the plantains. I made a professional-grade smusher with a little ramekin that fit into an icecream bowl. My fulcrum of smush was a meat tenderizer.

After you've smushed them all, reheat your pan and toss them back into the grease! They'll need to brown up for about 30 seconds to a minute, then allow to cool before salting lightly. Serve with mojo on the side, but don't put up with sissies who won't try it. The mojo makes the dish.

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