Fred's dish uses two different kinds of plantains: yellow and green. They're not different plantains but the same plantain at different points of ripeness green is at a harder and starchier stage (for making tostones), and yellow is at a sweeter stage (for making tajadas). Plantains change and mature, like people, which is why it's the perfect dish for a group.
For the tajadas (the ripe, sweet plantain):1.
Use a knife to score the plantains lengthwise to help release the skin. Slice the plantains on the bias, about 3/4-inch thick.2.
Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Working in batches if needed, add the plantains to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until they begin to turn golden brown. Turn them only once if possible.3.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the plantains from the skillet and onto a paper towel–lined plate. Season the plantains with 1 teaspoon of the salt while hot. Use the remaining oil in the pan to fry another batch using the same method as before and season again with salt.
For the tostones (the green, savory kind):1.
Use a sharp knife to separate the peel from the green plantains. Cut the plantains into very thin, straight slices. Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet and heat over medium. Add the plantains to the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until light golden in color.2.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the plantains from the skillet to a flat surface such as a cutting board. Leave the skillet over the heat. Use a rolling pin or bottom of a clean pan to smash the plantains.3.
Return the plantains to the skillet and cook once more for about 1 minute on each side until the newly smashed plantain is golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the pan and season using the remaining salt to taste.
Serve immediately with your favorite hot sauce.