Whether you call them patacones or tostones, you can't resist a plate of these crunchy fried plantain chips.
I, like many, many other Colombians grew up eating patacones at least a couple of times a week. Because of this, I always thought that we were the only ones on Earth who enjoyed such a great way of eating plantains, until we moved to New York. Here I found out that Puerto Ricans also make them and call them "tostones" because of their crunchy texture. Yet another thing we have in common with that great country!
So, how do you get them to be really crispy and crunchy? All you have to do is smash them hard so they come out really flat and fry them at a higher temperature the second time. That's it. As for flavor, some people like to soak them in salted water with a bit of garlic to infuse some flavor, but I tend to stay away from that because we all know that water and oil really hate each other. You could dry them up, but man, that's too much extra work for me, so I just season them well with garlic salt or just plain salt after they come out of the oil, and they're delicious!
Peel the plantains and cut them in pieces, about 1.5 inch each.
Fry them in oil that has been preheated at 325º F for about 3-4 minutes. Take them out of the oil and place them on paper towels to drain.
Using a tortilla press or "tostonera," flatten the fried plantain pieces to make slices that are about ¼-inch thick. **Note: you can also smash them with the bottom of a small pot, a plate or even your hands.
Raise the oil to 375º F and fry them again for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.
Take them out of the oil and place them on paper towels to drain. Season with garlic salt and serve immediately.