Things you should never do.

>When you’ve had a long long looooong week, and a busy weekend ahead of you there are oh so many thing you just shouldn’t do. Because they might make you have fun.

First off, when you’ve had a bad day at work you should never ever go out with your cousin who makes you laugh so hard you can’t breathe, and have a drink. Because one drink can become two and no good can come of that. Especially if that drink is a raspberry martini with fresh raspberry puree. Or a frozen pomegranate margarita. ‘Cause those are bad.

And you should never, if you get to work early, stop into the local grocery where they have cheap stuff for baking and plantains. (Those exotic temptresses of the fruit world with fibrous skins spotted black and thick stems. The yellower the peel the more flavorful the fruit inside.) Because if those plantains are 4/$1 you will end up buying them and visions of plantain fritters and stuffed plantains will dance in your clearly addled head.

And don’t even think about accepting an invite to a karaoke house party. Who told you you could sing? Puh-leeze!

And frying plantains (tostones) for said party? Out of the question! Really, you’re being utterly ridiculous, and… Hold on a mo’. Let’s try that again.

Never fry plantains and bring them to a party, because you will not get a single one.

There is something exciting about fried plantains. They are the comfort food of the tropics- savory slices of wild banana, crispy on the outside, sprinkled with salt. My friend Val from Puerto Rico serves hers with sour cream on the side for dipping. They can also be served sweet, cooked with honey and sugar and butter. They take the place of french fries on Columbia’s Caribbean coast. In Venezuela they’re made into a strata- stuffed with cheese, dipped in egg and deep fried. They can be made into an alcoholic drink, banana meal, and so much more. Plantains are a miraculous fruit.

Never tell someone when they’ve missed a chance to eat fried plantains. When I told a Cuban friend who wasn’t able to attend the party about my contribution he whined, “But I wasn’t therrrrrre!” He whined. That is the effect that fried plantains, even in absentia, have on people.

And what could be simpler? Slice them diagonally into 1/3 inch slices. Toss them in a pan of heated vegetable oil. Flip them when the middles whiten and the edges look more yellow. Flatten them gently with a spatula while they cook. Sprinkle salt over them, flip them onto a paper towel to drain then put in a pie pan and place them in a 300F oven so that they stay warm. When you are ready to go, put a bit of foil over the plantains and wrap the pan with newspaper to keep the heat in.

One last thing- when you get into the car to go to this party, don’t reach in and snag one. Just one. Because when you get there, there will be nothing left.


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