I had such a hard time deciding what to focus on for this post. The pineapple salsa, so lovely with fish, also lovely made with ripe-right-now peaches? Or the tostones (twice-fried plantains), which are easy to make, although if you’d rather have fresh corn tortillas, those would be delicious too? Or the black bean spread, which was supposed to be guacamole, but my avocados were hard as rocks, therefore black bean spread? I was (am) all over the board, tempted to present in effect several of my favorite foods, all in one post.
So let me present them all as options and let you decide which combination of sweet, salty, spicy, crispy, chewy, and creamy hits the spot.
Mix and match:
Tostones or fresh corn tortillas
Black beans or guacamole
Crab, halibut, or shrimp
Pineapple, pineapple + peach, or peach salsa
Pictured are tostones topped with black beans, pineapple salsa, and crab meat. It’s a pretty killer combination. I ate them for dinner, but at two bites apiece, they’d make a terrific party appetizer. Given canned lump crab meat, seasoned with ground cumin, fresh lime juice, and a bit of minced serrano chile, they’re ready in less than 30 minutes. If you rolled them in scorched fresh tortillas . . . 15 minutes, easily.
That said, if you’re grilling anyhow, why not toss a couple of skewers of shrimp on ahead of time? Brush with garlicky oil, sprinkle with salt, and when they’re done, finish with squeezes of fresh lime juice. The guacamole angle would be pretty lovely here. As would peach salsa.
When I make the halibut, which I most certainly will get around to soon, I’ll pan roast it and top it with pineapple salsa and nothing else. It’s hard to improve upon a perfectly cooked piece of halibut.
You have the idea. Get started with the pineapple salsa and tostone recipes below and have some spicy, crispy fun!
Makes about 2 cups
Can be made one day ahead of time. Refrigerate leftovers for up to three days.
1 ripe pineapple, trimmed, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 serrano chile, seeded and minced (more if you like more heat)
1/2 c. chopped cilantro (more if you like)
juice of 1 lime
In a medium bowl, stir together pineapple, red onion, chile, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt to taste.
2 large plantains (green for crispy texture; ripened to yellow for softer texture/sweeter taste), peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
oil for frying (peanut, safflower, sunflower, or other high heat oil; coconut oil would add a lovely flavor)
Line a baking sheet or large plate with paper towels.
Pour oil two inches deep in a small saucepan. Set pan over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering and a small piece of plantain (added to the oil as a test) sizzles. When oil is hot, fry the plantain pieces, a few at a time, until lightly golden brown on each side. Transfer to baking sheet as you go. Keep oil hot.
When all of the pieces are fried, use a heavy saucepan to flatten plantain pieces, one at a time, between sheets of plastic, to about 1/4-inch thick. Fry the flattened pieces, a couple at a time, until deeply golden brown and crispy. Transfer to the baking sheet as you go, sprinkling them with salt while hot.
Serve the tostones immediately with your favorite toppings.