Everyone is conscious today about minimizing their fat intake. Many of you do not deep fat fry at all. However, if on occasion you do deep fat fry, here are some helpful tips to remember on how to obtain the best results and do so in a safe manner:
1. Choose the type of oil that you use to fry carefully. Just any type of oil will not do when it comes to deep fat frying. Some of the best oils that you can use are: peanut, safflower, sunflower, canola or grape seed oil. All of these have relatively high “smoke points” which means that they will not break down at deep fat frying temperatures. Grape seed oil is particularly popular with chefs, as it retains the original flavors of the food that you are preparing and has a relatively high smoke point of 320 degrees F.
2. When you are frying, use a deep skillet or pan and allow for at least 2 inches at the top of the pan. This will allow space for any bubbling oil when you add food into the pan. Always add your oil to a cold pan – don’t heat the pan and then add the oil!
3. Normal frying temperatures are between 350-375 degrees F. If you are going to do any amount of deep fat frying, it’s a good idea to purchase a deep fat fryer thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can drop a 1” cube of bread into the oil and it should brown within 1 minute. If so, you have an oil temperature of about 365 degrees F.
4. When your frying, don’t overcrowd the pan. Only fry in small batches. If you overcrowd the pan, it will reduce the temperature of the oil and instead of frying your foods, the oil will be absorbed into the food, causing it to be soggy. As you finish your small batches, the fried foods can be held in a 200 degree F oven, while you finish frying your other batches.
5. Make sure the foods that you are frying have been patted dry before adding them to the hot oil. If you are frying breaded or coated foods, let them sit awhile and absorb the coatings, before frying, this will avoid a lot of splattering and your foods will fry better.
6. When you are deep fat frying, this is not the time to wander away from the stove. You need to stay by the stove and regulate the heat as necessary to ensure that the oil doesn’t get too hot. Once your food is cooked, remove from the pan with a slotted and drain on paper towels.
7. Don’t reuse oil, as it may retain the flavors of your previous foods and after it has been heated, trans fats may have started to form. Cool it completely and then discard appropriately.
8. Other safety tips to remember are:
a. If your oil starts to smoke or catch on fire, cover it immediately with a pan lid.
b. Keep any water away from the hot oil.
c. Keep a fire extinguisher in close proximity to the kitchen.