Last night I tried my hand at making a Latin American dinner for myself consisting of cooked fish filet (corvina, a type of saltwater drum) and fried plantains (patacones). Here’s how it went…
First, I soaked my corvina filet in lemon juice with pepper and garlic for about 10 minutes. While I waited for this, I cut up my (still green and not quite ripe) plantains and started heating up a small pot filled with vegetable oil with which to cook them in.
Next, I started to slowly cook my seasoned corvina filet on a skillet and put the plantain slices into the just barely boiling pot of vegetable oil. You want to let them cook until they are a light brown color before carefully removing them. If you want to add spices or seasoning (I like just a tiny hint of cinnamon and garlic) to your cooking plantains, now is a good time to do it.
While my corvina continued to cook, I used my Pataconera (2 pieces of flat wood connected by a hinge) to smash the fried plantain slices flat. Then, I put the flattened slices back in the vegetable oil to cook again. This time, you want to leave them in the oil until they are slightly darker brown in color and no longer soft (crispy is what we’re going for). When you finally remove the doubly cooked and flattened plantain slices, add just a little bit of salt while they’re still slightly moist from the oil bath. Let them sit to cool and soak in the flavor.
Once the patacones and corvina are done cooking, plate and enjoy!