Pretty Eats: Caribbean Salsa and Tostones

I’m part of a dinner party club. There’s 11 of us and we take turns hosting a dinner party. We pay $20 into the pot each month and we play a game to win the pot. You can only win once a year. This is our first year and we’ve been doing it potluck style. It’s kind of turned into a lot more work than expected so we’re thinking of taking away the potluck part of it for the next year around.

 
For this past month’s get together, the theme was “Caribbean” and since it was my turn to bring an appetizer, I scoured the web for vegetarian Caribbean appetizers. It was a bit difficult to be honest. But, I found two seperate recipes. One for a fruit salsa and another for tostones. Bingo!
 
I found the recipe for Caribbean Salsa in Yahoo Answers of all places. It’s super easy and incredibly tasty! I modified it for my benefit.

 

Caribbean Salsa

INGREDIENTS

1 diced fresh mango

1/2 diced small fresh pineapple

1 small diced papaya

1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

1/2 medium red onion, finely diced

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Toss together the mango, pineapple, papaya, jalapeno pepper, and red onion in a bowl. Pour in the lime juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with chopped mint leaves before serving. The original recipe called for salt to taste but I rarely add salt to recipes.

Here’s what I started off with:
 

Needless to say, I felt very exotic at the check out counter with this!

Chop Chop Chop! Word of warning: This was the first time I cut up papaya and my hands BURNED! That usually only happens with potatoes as I have mild eczema. Just thought I’d mention that because it was very unexpected!

After the papaya burning, I was really worried about the jalapeno. So, in a case of better safe than sorry, I used a grocery bag to cover my hand. I’m sure I didn’t need it but just in case.

On to Tostones! Tostones are made from plantains. The recipe was found on Chiquita’s website.

If you’ve never cooked with plantains, it’s a lot different than you’d expect. When you peel it, (you have to slice down and peel back), it actually feels similar to husking corn. It’s quite hard and it’s really strange. It’s definitely nothing like a banana.

First things first, cut it up in chunks.

Fry them up in vegetable oil so they’re brown on all sides.

Line them up on parchment paper standing up.

Layer with another piece of parchment paper and using the bottom of a saucepan, press down to squish into discs.

See? All squished.

Fry for a second time just enough to crisp up on each side.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Voila! There you have it. I also served it with some regular tortilla chips. The salsa was terrific. I’m not sure the plantains were for me. I think it’s a matter of texture. Although, there were others who really loved it.

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