Oh patacones, my arteries are hardening just remembering your deliciousness. We have Ecuador and Colombia to thank for you: my little darlings, plantain patties, smashed into perfect little crunchy disks, double fried and served alongside salads, fish and rice….rice always follows you.
Dearest patacones. For your golden brown, sun-disc appearance (not unlike the yellow shadow of Osiris himself), we thank you. For making use of the plantain, a food otherwise verging on the hostile, we applaud you. For creating a perfect crunchy-salty-fried combination with just a hint of could-that-be-sweet left over from the plantain’s almost-banana-soul’s departure from its tough green peel, we adore you. You are wondrous. Moreish. Probably an entirely indecent snack choice. You are everything we want from fries when potato no longer rocks our taste buds.
Even now almost a year later, those of you which are remain welded into my grey matter were from Montañita, Ecuador’s coastal corner where all the continent’s alcohol poisoning-bound Chileans and Argentinians go to drown in 2-4-1 cocktails. The perpetrator of my near death by patacones was a smiling señora running a nondescript lunch joint…and goodness me could she make you guys well. Her $2 menu del día kept my tummy happy, once, sometimes twice times a day…and the fact that she was willing to serve you up instead of (more) rice earned her a special best friends foreva place in my food heart.
After Montañita, I went many weeks without you, my golden loves, before learning how to make you myself. There, on a beach under the watchful eye of a Colombian traveler and the evil eye of the weed-smoking, spherical cook whose gas stove I was using, I eagerly scorched a batch of you. I apologise for that afternoon’s fallen soldiers – I ate them with gusto anyway – but rest assured that the rotund cook watching me over his four chins was neither impressed by my keeness to learn, nor the result of my efforts. But as I promised you that day: I will forge ever bravely on…
With a huge craving,
yours in salt, plantains, oil
(and avoiding high cholesterol),