It is simultaneously my poison and my antidote.
One one hand it enhances the natural flavor of all meats and vegetables, making it palpable to my taste buds.
I loves me some salt.
One time I ate 2 bags of beef jerky. Almost by myself. I’m sure my blood pressure spiked, but while I was munching on that sesame ginger beef jerky I did not give a damn.
Since I’m being all honest and whatnot…
I ate a whole package of bacon… By.Myself.
I mean, I have an excuse – I placed the bacon in the microwave to thaw out a little bit. There was no way I could, in good conscience put it back in the freezer now, could I? So I did the only logical thing. I ate it. All of it. I’m pretty sure my blood pressure spiked again, and this time… I sort of kinda gave a damn.
Poison: It spikes the blood pressure. It also bloats you so you can’t fit into your skinny jeans. But mostly it spikes your blood pressure. High blood pressure sucks a lotta bit. There’s the impending heart disease, and medication to contend with. I don’t know about you, but unless I’m given meds intravenously, chances are they won’t make it into my system.
So there – We have spoken of my love of salt, touched on some perils of eating too much salt, but why are the words “salt water brined” in the title of my post?
Oh, yea – That…
Well… As I’ve said before, I loves me some salt. And I loves me some tostones.
Dominicans love tostones.
What are tostones, you ask?
Latino lesson: Tostones are a very popular snack. One can argue that it is THE latino snack of choice. Mention tostones to a latino and watch their eyes light up. Simply, they are green plantains which are fried twice until crispy/crunchy.
They can be eaten their own, or as an accompaniment to many a fried meat, what we latinos call cuchifritos. Tostones are plantain chips, but thicker. We latinos are all up on that. You learn to make tostones as soon as you are old enough to reach the stove -With adult supervision, of course!
Here’s an issue: My family and I just LOVE to sprinkle the salt on our tostones. We don’t care that the meat that accompanies these round crispies is perfectly salted, we salt those bad boys anyway. It’s just what we do. It is why we are thick in the thighs.
So here’s the deal – I wanted to reduce the amount of salt that gets sprinkled on our plantains. I brine chicken, why not apply that very same concept to tostones? And since we’re brining and all, why not add another layer of flavor to that bad boy with some crushed garlic?
You see where I’m going with this?
You’re skeptical, I dig that. You ask: Won’t the salt penetrate the inner layers of the plantain? Isn’t that the whole purpose of brining? Yes, but we are only brining the plantains for a short time. The brine will only penetrate the top layers of the plantains, so fear not – You will not be munching on a salt lick.
Read on for a Dominican tostones lesson.
Dominican Tostones 101: How to successfully make tostones in 5 easy steps!
Impress your friends!
Step 1: I a medium bowl, prepare the salt water and crushed garlic brine. Peel and slice your plantains and slide them in the salt water/garlic brine for about 30 minutes.
Step 2: After the required brining period, remove plantains from the brine and dry them completely with a paper towel. I mean completely.
Step 3: Pour about an inch of oil in a medium skillet and turn the heat to medium/high. Wait until the oil shimmers (this will tell you the oil is hot) and slide your plantains in the hot oil. Fry them, flipping often until the plantains reach a very light golden color. The very center of the plantains should remain a bit raw.
Step 4: Remove the plantains from the heat and mash them using a tostonera (a fancy plantain mashing contraption… It’s not really fancy.). I don’t use a tostonera. I keep it Dominican, I keep it real. I normally use the bottom of an adobo jar; but since I lost the cap to my adobo jar, I had to dump my adobo elsewhere. Here I used the bottom of a mason jar. I’m still keeping it real. Feel free to use your plantain masher device of choice. You can get fancy with a tostonera, but then you won’t be keeping it Dominican.
Step 5: Slide your newly mashed tostones back in the oil for another round of frying! Fry them, flipping often until they reach a nice deep golden color.
Oh, and guess what?
You don’t have to salt theeeeeese!
The result: Very crispy/crunchy, perfectly salted tostones with a light hint of garlic.
How can you not be into this? Can I get a whoop-whoop?!
These tostones are delicious. And I should know – I am THE tostones connoisseur!
Whip out the foam finger… This one’s a winner.