Patacones aka Deep Fried Plantains – Costa Rica

A popular coastal Costa Rican snack is the patacone (plural patacones). You may know them by their English name, deep fried plantain. Why is it that anything deep fried is so good?
My journey to deep fried heaven was directed by the chefs at the eco-resort Arenas del Mar, who gratefully instructed me in the proper plantain cooking technique. It’s based on double frying: once for heating and loosening up the flesh, then fried again once the plantain pieces are flattened.
First, you’ll need some green plantains and a wok or deep sided cast iron pan to cook them in.
For the sake of experimentation, and back in my own kitchen, I tried various thicknesses of plantain to fry, Below, you’ll see the various stages of fresh and fried to give you some idea of how to proceed.
Cut the ends off each plantain and cut into four or five lengths. Then slice down one side of each length and remove the peel, either with your hands or a sharp knife.
Now cut those lengths into smaller pieces. Arenas del Mar prefers their finished patacones almost pancake size, so cut into larger pieces, but I thought something more session or snack-like would be preferable.
With enough oil to cover the pieces, heat vegetable oil in a wok or cast iron pan – the Costa Rica kitchen mostly uses palm oil – until hot. Place the plantain pieces in the hot oil, turning once to cook both sides. You don’t want too much colour on them.
Transfer to a paper towel to absorb some oil, and then to a cutting board to flatten. It’s preferable to flatten them while still hot.
The chefs at Arenas use two small cutting boards lined with plastic wrap to flatten.
I used the flat end of a meat hammer. You don’t need a lot of strength to flatten them so no need to get all macho.
As I mentioned previously, Arenas del Mar prefers their patacones larger sized.
Place the flattened pieces back in the hot oil and fry both sides. Transfer to paper towels. Plate them, sprinkling with your favorite sea salt and serve with a simple pico de gallo (salsa fresca) and cold beverages of your choice.

Such an interesting taste and texture, like banana crossed with a chick pea.

And now, for something completely different, let’s take a look at what chefs get tattooed on their flesh in Costa Rica.

One Response to “Patacones aka Deep Fried Plantains – Costa Rica”

  1. […] recipe comes courtesy of Cooking with a Broad. It’s a very simple recipe that can be summed up by a few […]

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