Tostones & Strawberry-Rhubarb Salsa
Sliced avocado, strawberry-rhubarb salsa with onion & jalapeño, garlic tostones (fried plantains), crumbled cotija cheese, squeeze of fresh lime juice
This is the perfect pizza for a warm April day, when spring produce is in season but your heart says it's time for summer. And to go along with the theme of being impatient, see: this plantain recipe. While most sweet fried plantain recipes require you to wait until the plantains are super ripe and nearly black, these Puerto Rican style tostones use firmer, mostly green plantains for a more savory, garlicky version. Now all you need is a rhubarb mojito and a straw hat and it's like it's been summer all along.
1 ball of pizza dough
flour for dusting
semolina flour for pizza stone
salt & pepper
1 hunk of cotjia cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, sliced
squeeze of lime juice
For the tostones:
1-2 firm plantains, peeled & cut into 1-inch thick slices
neutral oil for frying
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup water
For the salsa:
1 stalk rhubarb, halved lengthwise & thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup red onion, diced
5 large strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2.5 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 tablespoons honey
1.5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
*1/2 jalapeño, seeded & diced
*Optional depending on your preferred spice level—you can also leave some of the seeds if you want even more spice
Preheat your oven to 550° F, or as hot as it will go. While it's heating, you can prepare the salsa. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil over medium heat, then add the rhubarb. Let it soften for just a minute (you don't want it to get too mushy), then drain it and chop it to the same size as your diced onion.
Add the onion, rhubarb, strawberries and jalapeño (if using) to a bowl. In a small jar, combine the olive oil, honey and vinegar, plus salt & pepper to taste. Shake the jar with the lid on until emulsified, then add the contents to the bowl, along with the cilantro. Mix together and adjust seasoning, then set aside.
To make the tostones, start by combining the water and garlic in a bowl and setting it aside. Then heat enough oil in a large skillet such that the plantain slices will be halfway submerged when you add them.
When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the plantains, in batches if necessary. Fry for about 3-5 minutes per side, until they are lightly browned and softened. You're going to fry them a second time, so they don't need to be as brown as you might think at this point. Remove them and let dry on a paper towel-lined plate.
Now comes the fun part: on a cutting board, smash the plantains to about half their height using the back of a wooden spoon, then add them to the garlic water and let them soak up the garlicky flavor for about a minute. Dry them off on a paper towel, removing any excess garlic pieces, and then add them back to the pan.
This time, fry the plantains for about 2-3 minutes per side. They should get nice and crispy and turn a deep golden color. When they're finished, drain them again on paper towels, sprinkling them evenly with sea salt.
Now you're ready to prepare your dough, using the instructions on the right. After you've baked it for a minute, take it out and brush it lightly with olive oil. Spoon the rhubarb salsa evenly over the pizza along with the crumbled cotija cheese, followed by the avocado slices and garlic tostones.
Bake the pizza until the crust is a nice golden brown. Take it out, squeeze some fresh lime juice on top, then slice it up and enjoy!
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