Blackened Shrimp and Avocado Patacones (Tostones)

I’m going back to my roots with this one! If you didn’t already know this about me, my family on my mom’s side is Panamanian. Sometime during the 1960s my Nana and Papa left Panama and came to the States to start a new life for themselves. They settled in Brooklyn, NY, where a lot of their relatives already resided, and decided to start a family. They had three children who later had children of their own, me being their first grandchild!

My mom and I lived literally right around the corner from my grandparents so growing up, I spent a lot of time with them, was heavy influence by them and was practically raised by them. I was introduced to all the Latin American/West Indian cuisine that they grew up on, including one of my favorites, patacones.

Most people in would recognize patacones from its popular term, tostones. They are green (unripe) plantains that are fried once, flatted, then fried again. And they are so damn good! They’re pretty much the potato chip of Latin America and go by various names depending on the region. We Panamanians call them patacones and with pride!

The way my Nana made them was exactly like this recipe as described before all the extra fixings. After frying for the second time, they were sprinkled with a little salt then devoured. It was our favorite weekend snack!

Blackened Shrimp and Avocado Patacones

I decided to expand on this a little bit and add shrimp and, of course, avocado because why the hell not. Patacones are the perfect platform for anything that you would, let’s say, put on a taco or burrito. Barbacoa, bacalao, pico de gallo, even just plain slices of avocado would go perfectly with patacones for a delicious snack. I personally just love shrimp (you should know this by now), and the avocado is so refreshing, all you have to do is season it with a bit of salt and some lime and the combination is perfection.

Next time you decide you want tacos for dinner, I encourage you to take a step out of your comfort zone and use patacones instead of a tortillas. Add all the same toppings you would of used for the tacos, go tell all your friends of the delicious meal you just made, then bask in the glory of being able to overcome basicity!

Blackend Shrimp and Avocado Patacones (Tostones)
  • 16-20 large shrimp, peeled
  • 2 green plantains
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. blackening seasonging
  • 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo
  • Pour enough oil into a large skillet until you have about one inch in the pan. Set oil to medium heat. Peel and slice plantains into one-inch slices. Once oil is hot, fry plantains until light brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Using tongs, remove plantains from oil and dry on a paper towel lined plate. Do not turn off heat.
  • Press fried plantains with a flat object, like a small cutting board or firm plastic plate. Fry flattened plantains for an additional 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from heat and place on a towel lined plate.
  • Remove skin and seed from the avocado and mash in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of half a lime and season with salt and chopped cilantro. Mix together and set aside.
  • Season shrimp generously with blackening seasoning. Heat butter in a pan and cook shrimp, about 3-4 minutes each side.
  • Prepare dish by spreading about 1 tablespoon of avocado mix on each patacon then add two shrimp on top of avocado. Top with pico de gallo and an extra squeeze of lime, if desired.
    Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8-10 patacones


  • Substitute avocado mixture for store bought guacamole to save time, just omit salt and cilantro from recipe.

  • Patacones may cool while the rest of the dish is prepared. Keep them warm by placing them in oven at 250 degrees F.

  • Sprinkle a bit of salt on patacones right after frying for some extra flavor.