Comfort food at its finest
During our now semi-regular (read: second time ever) run earlier this week, my neighbor told me a little bit about the incredible food mecca that is Miami, Florida, her hometown. And while her descriptions of buttery Cuban bread and pressed sandwiches were pretty spectacular, it was the talk of tostones– twice-fried green plaintans– that really made me wonder how I’ve managed to survive for 27 years without ever tasting something so simple and amazing and totally delicious-sounding. For several days, I could think of nothing else.
So early this afternoon, after our (not-so-speedy) jog, we had a food date. I dusted off my cast iron skillet, broke the seal on the
vat bottle of vegetable oil that Dmitri picked up for me (in the middle of a rainstorm, no less), and got to slicing the super-green, super-starchy almost-bananas that have always intrigued/befuddled me while my kitchen-buddy kept her eye on the oil. The method is really simple: Slice your plaintains into 1/4 inch rounds, fry in vegetable oil for 1-2 minutes on each side, remove fruit from oil, flatten each round with a heavy-bottomed glass or jar, fry for an additional minute on each side, and douse with garlic salt.
The result? Holy yum. These puppies were like french fries on steroids. And although tostones are a new-to-me treat, there was definitely something really familiar about them that reminded me that even if my grandmother never cooked this particular food–after all, potatoes are slightly more common in southern Iowa than are plaintains– somebody else’s grandma sure did, and that cultural and geographical distance-transcending quality is, in my opinion, the hallmark of any true comfort food.
This wasn’t a particularly healthy endeavor; hopefully I’ll find the will to hop back on the spinach, flax, and blueberry breakfast-smoothie bandwagon. But tonight, after more than my fair share of fried goodness and lots of great conversation? I am definitely full– and utterly and totally comforted :).