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4 Firm-ripe plantains*
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
*available at Hispanic markets and some specialty produce markets and supermarkets
With a small sharp knife cut ends from each plantain and halve crosswise. Cut a lengthwise slit through skin along inside curve. Beginning in center of slit pry skin from plantain and with rippled blade of a mandoline or decorating knife cut flesh crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
In a deep fryer or large deep skillet heat 1 1/2 inches oil to 375F. on a deep-fat thermometer and fry 12 to 15 plantain slices at a time, turning them, 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden, transferring as fried with a skimmer or slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Season plantain slices with salt. (Plantain slices should be slightly crisp on outside but soft on inside.) Plantain slices are best served immediately but may be made 1 day ahead, cooled completely, and kept in an air-tight container. Reheat plantain slices on a rack in a shallow baking pan in a preheated 350F. oven 5 minutes, or until heated through.
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