Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Appetizers: Patacones (Plantain Chips)

For my first meal upon our return to Costa Rica, I ordered shrimp ceviche.  The dish came with lightly salted fried plantain chips, golden brown and crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. They were so good I tried to make them the very next day in our condo.  I used ripe plantains, and the results were disappointing.  After that, I ordered them every chance I got.  Sometimes they weren’t quite as soft in the middle, but they were still very tasty. When we arrived at Villa Decary, I asked for a cooking lesson from Miguel, a Tico worker at the B&B.  The key is to start with very green plantains. 

Serves 4

  • 3 green plantains
  • Canola oil
  • Salt to taste

Cut off the ends of the plantains. Make one slice lengthwise without cutting into the plantain itself.  Green plantains are hard to peel.  You might run water over the plantain to help remove the skin.  Slice the plantains into 3/4-inch pieces. 

Pour enough oil into skillet to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat oil until hot.  Fry plantain pieces on both sides until lightly brown.  Remove them from the pan and place them on a plate covered with paper towels.  Take another paper towel to blot excess oil from the tops of the plantains.  

Place the plantain pieces on a cutting board.  Flatten by tapping them with the bottom of a jar or glass until they are about 1/3” thick.

Put them in the hot oil again.  If you like them soft in the middle, cook until they are slightly firm when pressed. If you like them hard all the way through, cook them longer. 

Remove to a plate with fresh paper towels, and blot the excess oil. Salt to taste.