Patacones are known as tostones in New York - another treat I ate growing at the Cuban-Chinese joints on the Upper West Side. Either way, they are unripe plantains, twice-fried, and eaten as a side dish. The first fry is to soften them up and do most of the cooking. Then, you smash them and return to the oil to get them nice and golden brown. You can smash them with the bottom of the beer bottle or a saute pan, but I use a tostonera, a special device built for the job. I was always a fan of platanos maduros growing up, the really ripe plantains that are also fried. The Grub Blogger got turned on to patacones when he tried them at his lady’s family’s house, where they made up for the two reasons I hadn’t liked tostones. First, they weren’t super-dry. Second, they had some flavor. Not over frying the plantains took care of the first problem. a Healthy dose of garlic and salt, the second. These bad boys are good for a snack or side dish. They end up in sort of a cup-like shape, and are great to scoop up sauce from your main dish. Another key here to get a moist end-result is to use enough oil to comforably cover the plantains and let oil circulate around them, and to get that oil hot. All you need are plantains, garlic, salt and oil for frying.
To get the skin off the plantain, cut off the ends and make a slit down the outwardly curving side of the plantain.
Get the edge of the knife under each side of this slit to loosen the skin, and then peel away in skin in one piece from the plantain.
Cut slices about 1/2 inches each.
Press a few cloves of garlic though a garlic press and mix with a pinch of salt.
Heat the oil to about 375 degrees, and drop the plantains.
Let cook for a couple of minutes, flipping them halfway through.
Press in the tosotonera, and spread the garlic paste on the plantain pieces.
Return to the oil, and cook for a few minutes, until the garlic is a browned and the plantains are golden.