We returned to Central America this week with a fantastic breakfast of fried plantains from Panama, where they are called patacones. (A similar dish is called many other names, including tostones, in other Latin American and Caribbean countries.)
First, students peeled the plantains and sliced them. Then, they fried the slices for a few minutes until they were golden brown. Then, they smashed the plantains with the flat bottom of a bowl to form a pancake shape. Then, they fried the plantains again until the patacones were crispy. All it took was a final sprinkling of salt, a squeeze of lime, and a mango-pineapple-coconut-strawberry licuado to transport us to a tropical locale.