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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

The art behind deep frying

An Air Fryer is all the rage right now. It allows you to use very little oil to “fry” your food. Truth be told, you can accomplish this in your oven, without a new piece of equipment, especially if you have a convection oven. The experts say that frying foods submerged in oil is unhealthy. They say this accompanied with a picture of something fried with a pool of grease under it.

There is an art to deep frying. If you take your time and follow these steps, you can have a crispy fried item without any excess grease. The first step is to make sure you have the proper temperature. I always set my fryer to 375℉. If you want to fry on the stove top, make sure you have a thermometer to ensure the correct temperature. If a fryer is set to too low of a temperature, you will get a greasy result. If you have to fry in batches, which almost always is the case, make sure that the temperature returns back to the original temperature. One of the biggest mistakes a restaurant makes is skipping this step. You can always tell with your first bite.

Another step that often gets missed is overcrowding. In a haste to fry in as few of batches as possible, people will overcrowd the basket. Not only does this bring the temperature down too low too quickly, it also causes your food to require a longer cooking time. This will increase the chance of a greasy result.

When the item is cooked, allow it to drain in the basket before you put it on a paper towel lined plate or tray. These two steps remove any excess oil that may still be on the item. As soon as it’s on the plate, season with salt or whatever seasoning you wish. It will adhere to the item better than waiting until serving to season it.

Lastly, when frying in batches, you want to keep the items warm. I always heat my oven to 200℉. This will not only help keep your food warm, but it will also help it to stay crispy. Keep it in the oven until you are ready to take the food out of the fryer and return it immediately.

As far as the breading for your items, the sky’s the limit. There are plenty of pre-seasoned products on the market shelves that will do the trick. When I fry, I always start with plain flour for meats and plain cornflour for seafood. That way, I can add the seasoning I want with the amounts I want. I find that some of these products can have a heavy hand of salt in them.

When frying meat, I will dredge in seasoned flour, dip in egg wash (one beaten egg and milk), then again in the seasoned flour. For seafood, it’s straight into the egg wash, then the seasoned cornflour. You can double batter anything if you wish by repeating the steps.

Now that all of that has been said, Let’s head to the fryer!

Battered Fried Chicken

Here’s a different twist to the way I usually fry chicken. Dipping it into a batter then in seasoned flour adds to the flavor.

Canola oil

3-4 pound fryer, cut into 8 pieces

Creole seasoning

2 cups whole milk

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups self-rising flour

3 tablespoons hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Heat oil to 350℉.

Remove excess fat from chicken pieces and place in a large bowl. Season on both sides with creole seasoning, In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients together until well blended.

Dip 1 piece at a time in batter mixture and place directly into the fryer. Do not overcrowd the basket. Cook until pieces are golden brown and cook through, about 10 minutes for white meat and 13-15 minutes for dark meat.

Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

If you follow these steps, you will be able to produce greaseless fried food. Sure it may not be as healthy as “Air Fried”. I guarantee though that it will be crisper and taste better.

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