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You can do the first fry ahead of time, then soak the plantains in garlic water, dry, and hold at room temperature until closer to mealtime.
- 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 cup vegetable oil, divided
- 3 large ripe plantains (about 2½ pounds total), peeled, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise on a diagonal into 3-inch pieces
Combine garlic and 2 cups water in a medium bowl; set aside.
Heat ½ cup oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Working in 3 batches, fry plantains in a single layer, turning once, until tender and golden all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour out oil; discard. Reserve skillet.
Gently press down on plantains one at a time with the flat side of a chef’s knife or wooden spoon to flatten slightly. Transfer to bowl with reserved garlic water and let soak 5 minutes.
Remove plantains from garlic water and pat dry with paper towels. Heat remaining ½ cup oil in reserved skillet over medium-high. Fry plantains again, turning once, until deep golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to fresh paper towels to drain; sprinkle with salt.