Baked Patacones (also called tostones) are the healthy version of the classic - and twice-fried - Central and South American smashed plantain snack. Serve with juicy fresh Tropical Salsa for a real treat.
Preheat your oven to 190C fan/200C/400F. Line a baking tray or two with baking parchment/wax paper.
Take each plantain and slice the ends off; discard. Cut each plantain in half crossways. Now cut vertically through the thick skin (see slideshow image) in three places for each plantain half. This will make peeling much easier as the skin won't slip off easily, like a ripe banana. Run your index finger underneath one of the cuts and lift up the skin. Carry one until the plantains are peeled. Cut each short length into thick coins about 2 cm or 3/4 of an inch. No need to get out the measuring tape though.
Spray a steamer basket or colander with oil spray, or brush with oil. Place the plantains in the basket/colander and steam for five minutes.
Tear two sheets of baking parchment/wax paper and place one on a cutting board. Pop a handful of cooked plantains on the board and cover them with the other sheet of parchment paper. Use a mortar, flat-bottomed, heavy bowl, or saucepan to gently bash each individual plantain into a rough disk (see slideshow image). Carry on with the rest.
Lightly slick the parchment-papered baking tray with oil or spray on oil spray. Place each flattened plantain disk on the paper and brush with a little oil/oil spray until all are lightly coated. Bake the plantains for 10 minutes then remove from oven and flip over to bake a further 5-8 minutes, depending on how quickly your plantains colour. You don't want to burn them at all. If you only used oil spray they may colour more quickly with a tendency to be a bit drier too - see side-by-side comparison slideshow image. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt, and eat soon after baking while still warm.
Gently mix all the chopped ingredients until they are well distributed, adding a little salt and extra chilli if liked. If possible let the flavours meld for half an hour before serving.
These baked green plantain chips can be baked using oil or an oil spray. For best result use the oil as it will give a better texture overall. But both taste great.
The patacones will keep for up to a week if stored in an airtight container at room temperature. You will need to "revive" them by either popping in a hot oven for three or four minutes or in a hot pan on the stove/hob. They really taste and "feel" best when warm or hot.
The patacones and the salsa will individually go with loads of things. Try the salsa with seared tuna steak or in a spring roll wrapper with cooked shrimp. Try the patacones with a spicy bean dip or a zesty mojo dip or similar.