FEAST FOR FREEDOM
Living and Thriving Gluten Free

Healthy & Gluten Free

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Categories: Side Dishes    

Patacones are pan fried green plantains and are a great alternative to potatoes. They're served with a tangy Garlic and Lime Mayo Dip which pairs really well with the Patacones.

Fried Patacones on a wooden platter with a dish of garlic and lime mayo dip
Image by: Thora Toft

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes Makes: 4 servings Difficulty: Medium

Gluten free Dairy free Egg free Grain free Soy free

Plantains are popular in a number of Central and South American countries. They're often used instead of potatoes. Each country has different ways of making pan fried green plantains and use different names. Some are thicker and turn out softer, others are thinner and more like a potato chip.

In my travels through South America it's been coastal Ecuador where I ran across them the most, and they call them Patacones. Many restaurants either served them instead of fries, or would include a few as an edible garnish.

Where I was they usually served them simply with mayonnaise or ketchup... but that's boring. So I've included a nice tangy garlic and lime dipping sauce that goes really well with these tasty patacones.

These patacones are double fried. The first frying is to cook them most of the way. They are then pressed / squashed. This breaks them up a bit, and makes them much less dense. Without this step they are simply too dense and dry, and not very palatable. They're then refried to finish cooking.

Plantains are much meatier than potatoes, and the pressing / squashing breaks them up a bit to make them a bit softer. They still will be meatier than fries, though.

For softer patacones don't let them get too brown, and start with them thicker (1" thick).

For crispier patacones cook them to be just starting to turn brown for the first cooking. Start with a thinner cut (1/4" to 1/2"), and let them get browner during the second frying.

I'll share some basic differences on how to prepare them, and you can try out the different methods to find the type you like the best.

Use all organic ingredients. Ensure any spices are labeled certified gluten free, and any packaged items are labeled gluten free.

Pan fried green plantains being dipped into garlic mayo
Image by: Thora Toft
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Ingredients:
Garlic Lime Mayo Dip:
3/4 cup Homemade Mayonnaise
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons Fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper, or to taste
Patacones:
3 to 4 Green plantains
1/2 cup Coconut oil or Homemade Lard
Directions:
Garlic Lime Mayo Dip:
  1. Combine the mayonnaise, garlic and lime juice in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper and adjust to taste. Let chill in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour for flavors to blend.
Patacones:
  1. Cut the ends off of the green plantains. Cut the skin lengthwise, taking care not to cut into the inside fruit very much. You can cut it multiple times, along the ribs. Peel them sideways, rather than from end to end. Slipping a sturdy knife under the cut edge and prying can help the peel come off. After peeling, trim off any peel left on the plaintain.
  2. Cut the plantain into slices (rounds). 1" thickness will make softer patacones. 1/4" thickness will make much crunchier patacones. 1/2" will be somewhere in between.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. You want 1/8" to 1/4" of oil in the pan. Place plantain rounds in the frying pan. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. For softer patacones, don't let them get brown during the first cooking. For crispier patacones, cook them just until they're starting to turn brown.
  4. Remove the patacones from the frying pan, and drain on paper towel. Let them cool just long enough until they are able to be handled.
  5. You now need to press them. This can be done with the smooth side of a kitchen mallet. You don't need to hammer them. Place the mallet on the plaintain round, and press to flatten them. Don't make them too thin or they'll fall apart. You can use anything flat that you can press or roll - a strong cup, the bottom of a small pan, or even with a can or a rolling pin. There is even a special press you can buy.
  6. Reheat the oil to medium high heat, and when hot, put the flattened plantain rounds back into the oil. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each, until desired browness is reached. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel.
  7. Serve with the Garlic Lime Mayo Dip, or even with plain mayonnaise or ketchup. If you want to serve them plain, you can season them simply with a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Enjoy!

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