I can’t tell you the first time I ever had tostones — aka crispy, golden plantain deliciousness — but I do recall the first time I fell in love with them. It was while I was eating at a sidewalk table at Cafe Habana in New York City circa 1999, which meant I was doing my best to channel J-Lo’s style a la her If You Had My Love video.
It was my summer after freshmen year of college, the first year I lived away from home for the summer, and my main concern was how many clubs I could get on the VIP list for and which shoes would be best for dancing until the wee hours. Cafe Habana was where I’d regularly meet my girls to recap the drama of the night before, to refuel with high octane Cafe Con Leche, and to nosh on plates upon plates of cuban sandwiches, Mexican-style corn, and, of course, tostones.
So, when I saw that my friend Gaby Dalkin’s new cookbook, Absolutely Avocados, had a recipes for tostones, well, I was there in a major way. This recipe makes for crisp, golden tostones that rival the best of Cafe Habana but takes it one step further by topping it with an avocado, mango, red onion mix that makes tostones even more addictive.
You might be wondering how interesting a cookbook all about avocados can be — the answer is, very. Gaby goes well beyond guacamole (though there is a whole chapter dedicated to just that) to put avocados in smoothies, chocolate chip cookies, on croque monsieurs, and in these tostones.
Avocados just came in to season a few weeks ago so you have months to try out each and every one of these recipes with each and every variety Gaby covers from my personal favorites, the Fuerte and the Pinkerton, to the ubiquitous Hass. Oh, and after you’ve gorged yourself on tostones, checked out Gaby’s Avocado Central, and bought a copy of Absolutely Avocados for everyone you know (obviously), be sure to check out my interview with Gaby where she shares her key to the kitchen.