Patacones (Plantain Fritters)
As with potato chips, slices of plantain are fried once to soften and a second time to crisp. In Ecuador and Columbia, where they're a popular street-food, you can buy special little wooden presses for squashing them flat.
2 firm plantains or 3 green bananas, thickly sliced (2 fingers' width)
Oil for deep-frying
Soak the plantain slices in salted water for half an hour, until you can push the edible disks out of their skin; drop them back in the water to avoid browning until you're ready to cook.
Pat the plantain slices dry. Drop them in the oil a few at a time and fry gently till softish but not yet crisp. Remove to kitchen paper, cover with clingfilm and punch down with a butter-pat to reduce the slices to half their thickness - Latin-American cooks can buy a special little wooden press for the purpose. You can do this in pairs, overlapping one slice over the other and flattening both together. Either way, the soft diaphragm spreads to make a pretty broken edge which browns deliciously.
Re-heat the oil, this time to chip-frying temperature. Fry the flattened slices, a few at a time, till brown and crisp on the outside and still meltingly soft on the inside.
Treat as tortilla chips - as a scoop for a ceviche, a soupy bean-dish, guacamole or savoury stew. Or serve as a dessert with fresh curd cheese, honey and nuts.
Recipe from The Latin American Kitche