Two years ago I had the pleasure of traveling to Cuba. I stayed mostly in Matanzas, but experienced a few days of Havana.
I need to return.
As soon as possible.
I was there for a little over two weeks, and it felt like two days. Some of my favorite memories were cooking in an outdoor kitchen with several women and learning the Spanish terms for penis and rich. My Spanish is not good, but it was amazing the words I overheard and asked, “Que significa eso?”…
In Matanzas, on a corner of a busy street, was an open-air bakery…petite and aesthetic-free…operated by a round cookie-faced woman with warm eyes. I always love seeing a woman with a dream making it happen. I know that work is hard, but fulfilling. And her baked goods were delicious.
In Havana, I had pastelillos de guayaba (guava pastries). For future reference, to get me to commit a serious crime, offer me pastelillos de guayaba.
I’ve had tostones a few times in my life…made in my home kitchen…because we all know how I adore fried foods and will indulge every now and again.
Momma Maria (seen in this photo with her son and dog) made them for me in Matanzas. I think I had plantains in some form every day while there. And when I came back to the states I could not eat them for a whole year.
Maria’s were a little different from mine and amazing.
When anyone found out that I do not eat meat, they gave me the most perplexed looks–reminding me that many cultures would never deny a staple that sustains them. It was good to swallow a dose of my own first-world privilege. All the food that I did consume was so fresh, ridiculously exquisite!, and simple.
Speaking of simple, I know some of the recipes I have on my blog have 18 million ingredients in them. My sister-friend, J, has said to me, “I love your blog. I will never make anything from it.” Plant-based food can take a bit of manipulation to translate into delicious.
But not these tostones.
And not the Sexy Green Sauce either.
So, J, this recipe is for you. Make it before I disown yo’ ass.
This dish will break your entire heart, but that won’t stop you from falling in love with it anyway.
Til’ next time…Reine
Tostones with Sexy Green Sauce
- 2-3 green plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
- your oil of choice for frying–yes, frying!–y’all know some things need to be fried. Just eat a salad later. Balance.
- sea salt
- Heat your oil of choice in a pot until it reaches 360 degrees…ie, hot.
- Carefully place your cut plantains into the oil (do not over crowd your pot). Fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove your plantains, then smash with a potato smasher OR a plate, mug, whatever–everybody doesn’t have a potato smasher, so use what you got.
- Fry for a second time (!) for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sea salt.
Sexy Green Sauce
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 jalapeno (keep the seeds)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped and packed
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped and packed
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 TBSP water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Does. Not. Get. Any. Easier.
You can share this dish…but, real talk, I let my family have three. Then I ate the rest. And, yes, I’m having salad for dinner.