Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tostones With Pumpkin Eggplant Dipping Sauce

I had hardly heard of tostones before I came here- I'm sure I've eaten them a few times (namely the the week before I left at my cousin's plotluck) but now I can't understand how I've lived this long without them.... They are salty, sweet, chewy, crispy, and fried. 

Tostones for two people

Take about 2 plantains- I've found that slightly yellow is the best kind, there is enough sugar in them to caramelize and turn them nice and brown but not so much that they get black and fall apart-  Score the skin from top to bottom in about three places and pull off the strips and throw them in the compost (there is something really satisfactory about skinning a plantain- something about the sound it makes I suppose)

Slice the plantains on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices and soak the slices in salt water for about thirty minutes.

Fry them in oil that is not-as-hot- as you would for potato chips (probably around 325 degrees if you use a thermometer) until they are golden brown (this is not the last step so they shouldn't be done looking).  Drain on a paper bag or towel or whatever you have to drain things on.

Pound out the slices gently between wax paper with whatever you have to pound things with (I used an empty guava jelly jar) until they are thin enough to be chip-like (you can't get them super super thin because they will just fall apart)

Fry them in hot oil (I use brown coconut oil with a little olive oil mixed in) until they are dark brown and look delicious.  My friend Ashley puts salt in the oil as she fries things (mainly potato or other root/tuber chips).  I've never heard of this before but it works so I now do it as well.  It doesn't dissolve in the oil but it sticks to things just enough and you don't have to worry about spillage when you try to evenly sprinkle clumpy humid salt after frying.

Pumpkin Eggplant Rosemary Dipping Sauce

Take one reasonable sized eggplant, split it, and put it on a baking sheet.  Then cut a hunk of pumpkin about the same size as half an eggplant and put it on the baking sheet. Also add  four whole garlic cloves- unskinned.  Drizzle a little coconut oil on everything and throw the baking sheet in an oven preheated on medium heat. Bake until soft (about 30 minutes, depending on the heat of the oven)

Put the soft inside of the eggplant and the pumpkin in a blender or food processor (you can also just smash it up by hand but doing it this way makes it nice and fluffy and smooth). Pop the garlic out of it's skin throw that it. Add a sprig's worth of rosemary, a clove of minced garlic, half a lemon or lime's (I used lime) worth of juice (or more if you like), salt, pepper, a drizzle or so of oil, and enough liquid to make it like a really thick soup.  If I were at home I would have added some tahini but I don't have any here.  I just added a little water.

Blend it all up until it is light and fluffy- taste before you pour it out to make sure it doesn't need anything (a bit of hot pepper, more salt, black pepper, lemon or lime juice....).  Serve with warm tostones and a nice cabbage-green papaya- carrot slaw. 

Or maybewith an avocado-tomato salsa seasoned with hot peppers and lime juice....

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