And it's dead simple.
Most of the plantains at the grocery store are woefully underripe, so I buy them well before I want to use them. Then they sit on the counter until they're mostly black. If bananas were that black, they'd be pudding inside, but not plantains.
The plantains here have just gone into the pan for the second fry. Don't they look like flowers, with their dark centers and frilly edges?
Because everything's better when it's cooked twice!
The plantain smasher is less messy than using a meat mallet, and it's a little easier to make all the pieces the same thickness. Does everyone need a plantain press? Heck no. I don't need one, but it does make the job easier. It doesn't take a lot of storage space, and it was only a couple bucks, so I'd say it's worth having.
They go back into the pan they go to fry on both sides again, with a little sprinkle of salt. And that's it. Ready to serve.