Deep Fry Like a Pro
The word ‘fried’ is one of the most maligned terms in the kitchen. There’s no denying that fried foods aren’t the healthiest thing you can put in your mouth. But let’s face it, we’re pleasure seekers at heart and a little fried food every now and again is soul satisfying. It’s the definition of comfort food. If you’re frying at the right temperature, with the right equipment and the right oil, your food will not absorb the unhealthy fat it was cooked in. Follow these six easy tips for frying success:
Use a heavy-bottomed pan.
You don’t need a fancy deep fryer to properly fry your food at home, but it is important to use a heavy pan so the oil heats up and maintains heat properly. I personally like a deep cast iron Dutch oven, the deeper the better to avoid a greasy mess from splatters.
Use the proper oil.
Don’t use olive or hazelnut oil, or any type of fruit, nut or plant oil with a strong flavor and low smoke point. Safflower, peanut, canola and vegetable oil perform the best at high frying temperatures and have a neutral flavor. And then there’s always lard—I love frying chicken in lard, what can I say.
Don’t crowd the pan.
Practice a little patience and fry your chicken or onion rings in batches. That way your food will cook evenly and it’ll be easier to maintain the correct oil temperature. Plus, it’s easier to flip or turn pieces as necessary.
Use a thermometer.
It’s essential for maintaining temperature. When you add food to hot oil, the temperature will drop instantly, so you will need to adjust the heat accordingly. The oil will take a few minutes to react, so keep an eye on the thermometer. You don’t want the oil to be too hot or too cold. If the oil temperature is too low, your food will absorb too much oil.
Season your food as soon as it comes out of the fryer.
Salt, pepper and aromatic herbs will have a better chance of sticking to and flavoring your food when it’s hot.
Make sure your work surface is clean and that you’re prepared with the proper tools. When it comes to your pan, bigger is better; you want the oil to be at least a few inches from the top. Place the pot and handle out of the way, so no one can accidentally bump into it. When you’re finished, let the oil entirely cool before discarding or straining for later use.
Recipes to try:
Check out my online cooking course for more on this essential cooking technique.
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