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Plantain Fritters with Black Beans (Molotes con Frijoles Negros)
Total 1 hour and 55 minutes
Active 45 mins
Makes 6 to 8 servings
TIP: The salsa can be made 2 days ahead. Transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate.
Ingredients
    • 3 pounds (about 4) large ripe plantains
    • Sea salt
    • Vegetable oil, for hands and for frying
    • 2/3 cup refried beans, preferably black
    • 1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco, plus more for serving
    • Crema, for serving
    • Fresh Red Salsa (Salsa Roja Fresca), recipe follows
    • Fresh Red Salsa (Salsa Roja Fresca)
      • 1 1/4 pounds (about 5) ripe Roma tomatoes
      • 1/4 large white onion, roughly chopped
      • 1 chile habanero, stemmed, seeded, and halved
      • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
      • 1 garlic clove
      • Sea salt
      Directions
      1. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
      2. Place the plantains on a parchment-lined rimmed sheet tray, spaced evenly apart. Using a sharp paring knife, poke the entire length of each plantain to let the steam escape as they cook. Bake the plantains until completely black, bubbling around the cuts, and very soft, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool on the sheet tray.
      3. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard (or compost) the plantain peels. Place the cooked plantain flesh in a medium bowl. Using a potato masher, mash the plantains until smooth. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) salt and stir to combine.
      4. Lightly oil your hands and scoop 1/3 cup of mashed plantains into the palm of your hand. Roll it into a ball and use your thumb to create an indentation in the center of the filling (it should look like half of a coconut shell). Fill the indentation with 1 tablespoon of the refried beans and 1 heaping teaspoon of the queso. Mold the plantain around the filling to enclose it (it’s okay if some is poking out), then cup your hands to gently flatten and form it into a football shape. Repeat with the remaining plantains, beans, and queso.
      5. Pour about 3/4 inch of oil into a large heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, and heat until the temperature reaches 350°F. Working in batches, fry the molotes, turning them occasionally, until all sides are deep golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. If the plantains are very sweet, you may need to reduce the heat to 325°F to prevent the sugars from caramelizing too quickly and burning.
      6. Transfer the fried molotes to a paper towel–lined sheet tray and continue frying the remaining molotes, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the oil at the correct temperature.
      7. Serve the molotes warm with a drizzle of crema, a sprinkle of queso, and Fresh Red Salsa.
      1. Fresh Red Salsa (Salsa Roja Fresca)
        1. Blend tomatoes, onion, habanero, cilantro, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender on medium-low speed until the salsa is smooth. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

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