If you are a fish lover, here’s what might be a whole new way for you to eat, it’s as we eat it on any beach in Venezuela. Tata, my grandmother loved to spend holidays with all of her grandkids, in a small coastal village in the east of the country called Puerto Píritu. She would take the seven of us in a peñero (a small wooden boat, with outboard motor of about 200 horsepower) to any beach, where we had a fried fish and “tostones” banquet.
She learned how to prepare this recipe on a shack (4 wooden stick column and a palm leaf roof) in Las Isletas, a paradise of white sand and crystalline waters. This is the way fried fish is served in my home country, in any kind of restaurants from luxurious ones up to the most humbles. It’s usually served in ceramic or plastic plates, the fish is cooked complete, with head, eyes, and tails! This is the way in which thousands of Venezuelans eat fish, dishing it with a Cold beer and, almost always, a beautiful ocean view.
The secret of the flavor in this fish is to throw a garlic in the oil. That’ll give it the Caribbean touch. One or two hours before the meal, wash the fish very well, dry it with a cloth, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Leave it in the fridge until ready to cook.
Ready?! Ok, remove the fish from the fridge and drain it. Let it cool off for around 15-30 minutes and then bread it on all sides with flour.
Meanwhile, heat the oil with the garlic. As soon as it browns remove it so that it doesn’t become bitter. Then, fry the fish, (here’s a quick tip on how to perfectly deep fry anything) until it browns on both sides.
The “tostones” is a simpler story. Make sure you buy green plantains. Here’s what you’ve got to do:
- While you get the vegetable oil heating in a cauldron until just hot enough to sizzle when a plantain piece is added, start preparing the plantains.
- Go ahead and peel them and then slice crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces
- Fry the plantains slices in batches, without crowding, until tender and just golden
- Transfer the now fried plantains to paper towels to drain
- Lower the heat, as we will fry the plantains again
- With the bottom of a glass, flatten plantains to about 3 inches in diameter. You can now add salt and/or garlic powder
- Time to fry again! Wait until the flattened plantains are golden and transfer again to paper towels to drain. You can season again until you get the desired taste.
We usually eat tostones topped with what we call pink sauce, which is just Ketchup and Mayonnaise mixed together, and white grated cheese. I strongly recommend you have them this way.
And well my fellow readers, that’s how we Venezuelans enjoy a great dish full of phosphorus, protein, and vitamins. Hope you enjoy!