Crispy Plantain Chips
For a lively cocktail party nothing beats plantain chips. The key is to slice the plantains thinly and evenly, fry them in oil that is hot but not smoking, and drain them well. This way, they turn out crisp and crunchy, not soggy. The best way to slice them is with a mandolin. If you don’t own one, do it carefully with a large, sharp kitchen knife. You can use the same pot and oil to deep-fry the bananas. Whatever you do, don’t lose track of the oil temperature.
1. Fill a large heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of 3 to 4 inches with the oil. Place it on a burner over medium-high heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 350°F. (Use a candy thermometer to measure. If you don’t have one, throw in a drop of water; if it sizzles immediately, the oil is hot enough.) Lower the heat to medium. The temperature of the oil should not exceed 375°F; don’t allow it to begin smoking, or it will burn and produce unpleasant flavors.
2. As the oil reaches 350°F, use a slotted spoon to slide the plantain slices in one by one. Fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove cooked slices with the slotted spoon, season immediately with salt, and drain on paper towels.
Note: You can fry the plantain chips in advance and, if they get a bit soggy waiting to be served, simply crisp them up by warming them in a 200°F oven.