The ripeness and color of any plantain you choose at the market has a huge impact on the taste of your intended meal. Green plantains are fantastic as a savory dish, as they are only slightly sweet; yellow and black plantains are more suited for sweet caramelized dishes.
When I make tostones I choose a green plantain with almost no black spots. When I make platanos maduros, I prefer a ripeness somewhere between yellow and black, although many traditional Latin-American dishes suggest using a completely black plantain. Generally, I buy them green and store in a bowl on the counter for future use. A green plantain can take up to a month to turn black, so its an easy fruit to perpetually have on hand.
1 green plantain
1/4 inch corn oil in a cast iron skillet
1 small dinner plate
Sea salt to taste
Peel the plantain by cutting off each edge and then slicing lengthwise on both sides. Peel away the remaining peel. Slice the fruit at an angle into 1 1/2 inch chunks–slicing at an angle (rather than creating a flat surface) will help with smashing later in the process.
Heat 1/4-1/2 inch of corn oil in a cast iron frying pan. When a small drop of water sizzles in the pan, the oil is ready for frying. Carefully add plantain chunks to pan and fry both sides for approximately 3-5 minutes–until tostones just begin to brown.
Remove chunks and drain oil on a paper towel. Using a small plate, flatten the tostones one at a time. The idea is not to make them super-flat, but just mash them down.
Return to oil and fry an additional minute or two flipping halfway through, until tostones are golden brown.
Remove from frying pan and drain oil once more onto paper towels. Sea salt to taste, and serve with Lime-Garlic Mayonnaise and some extra lime wedges.