I have no cultural connection to plantains; the first time I encountered them was in my mother’s kitchen in up-state New York. And I’ve really never had them better than hers – except, perhaps, until I started making them myself. I’ve adopted my mother’s double-fry method so the plantains come out more like chips than slices of banana-ness, however I do like the sweetness of the riper plantain, while my mother tends to use green ones. They’re good both ways – it just depends on if you’re in the mood for something starchy/salty or something fruity/salty.
Oil for frying (canola, veggie, corn, etc.)
Salt or Tony’s to taste
A large plate lined with a few layers of paper towel.
one: Heat about ¼ in. of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. While it heats, peel the plantain and cut into about 1 ½ in. lengths.
two: Place plantain pieces one cut side down in the oil. (Leave plenty of room around them, because you’re going to mash them into flatter, wider discs. You may have to do the plantain in a couple of batches, depending on the size of your frying pan.) When the bottom of the pieces is very lightly golden – this goes quickly, certainly no more than a minute – flip to the other cut side and fry until lightly golden.
three: Remove lightly cooked pieces to a flat, contained surface like a cutting board. Place one cut side down and flatten by pressing down with a flat, slick object. I like to use the bottom of a glass. Once you have flattened the plantain to about ¼ in. thickness, return to the pan and fry – first on one side, then the other – until it's a deep golden, browning on the edges.
four: Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Sprinkle with salt or Tony’s, allow a minute or so to cool if you’re not still frying, and enjoy!
I have a slotted, metal spatula that works great for moving the plantains around during cooking. They also tend to stick to the bottom of the glass. I simply move the glass, with mooshed plantain on the bottom, above the oil and scrape the plantain off with the metal spatula.