How to Fry in 2014 and Breaking Bad Frying Habits

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, there is a good possibility you will be seeing more unique fried food options hitting the plate this spring. While consumers are opting for new flavors like the ones found in oysters or Brussels sprouts, chefs are finding that deep-frying brings just the right amount of familiarity in flavor to keep their patrons coming back for more. Chances are however, you are doing a few things wrong.

Chefs from Dallas to L.A. are looking for ways to reimagine how to fry food. At Chef Rick Tramonto’s R’Evolution in New Orleans, he offers several unique fried accents. R’Evolution’s menu features a Cajun fried oyster salad and beer-battered crab beignets. He explains that when it comes to the oysters, “ . . . the crust is crunchy and the inside is still creamy.” That, coupled with his simple seasoning, allows adventurous diners to enjoy more exotic flavors in a preparation style with which they’re already comfortable.

Okra in Open-Pot Fryer

From local eateries to large chains, this spring is going to be about new, fresh flavors brought to you by way of a stand-by preparation method. If you have been waiting to try a trendy new ingredient, this may be your chance to leap with the comfort of a little familiarity. If you will be introducing one of these new fried options to your menu, read on for the five things you are probably doing wrong when frying.

Five Things You are Doing Wrong When Frying

1. Believing that frying chicken fingers and popcorn shrimp is sufficient.

Fried Lobster

Frying this spring is all about taking chances. We aren’t suggesting you serve fried Oreos in a fine dining establishment, but do experiment with unique flavors. From savory to sweet, the options are endless and whether you’re serving guests in your restaurant or preparing for an evening at home, this is a great way to introduce new flavors in a familiar cooking style. Coco’s of Chicago has made quite the name for itself with it’s signature fried lobster while the Giant Artichoke Restaurant in Castroville, California draws locals and tourists with their fried artichoke heart. Though these dishes are typically served steamed, the unique take brings them to a whole new level and even makes them more approachable for some diners.

2. Believing that choosing the correct fryer isn’t necessary.

Choosing the correct fryer is essential. To achieve the ideal level of crisp, keep the frying oil fresh, and deliver the perfect golden-brown product to the table, it’s important that each food item is carefully considered before it’s tossed into a fryer.

Fries from Commercial Fryer

Consider your menu items to identify the best commercial fryer for those foods. If you’re in the market, we would suggest you start with this handy guide about choosing the right commercial fryer for your restaurant menu. You certainly wouldn’t want to attempt cooking fries in a funnel cake fryer.

3. Believing that keeping your oil clean is not a priority.

Keeping your oil clean is of the utmost importance. Failing to do so can lead to expensive repairs from blockages, an increased use of oil, decreased taste quality, and can be potentially dangerous to yourself or your staff.

For more information on cleaning your fryer, we suggest reading this fryer maintenance guide that includes an in-depth look at the benefits to properly caring for your fryer and a step-by-step explanation on cleaning a commercial fryer.

Chef with fries

4. Believing that batch size doesn’t matter.

If the quality of your food matters, then the size of the batch you choose to cook certainly should. Overcrowded batches can lead to your ingredients sticking together, unevenly cooked products, and even overflow. In the event that the oil in your fryer overflows, this may result in extremely dangerous grease fires and painful burns. Slow and steady is a good mantra when frying.

Frying in large batches can also lower the temperature of the oil significantly. To avoid significant fluctuation in temperature, be sure to fry in properly sized batches. Remember that if you are frying fully frozen food, the batch size may need to be smaller than usual to avoid seriously lowering the temperature of your cooking oil.

5. Believing that the temperature of your oil doesn’t matter.

Frying is similar to baking when it comes to properly adjusting the temperature. Much like an oven can burn a delicate cake, setting the temperature of your fryer too high can overcook an entire batch. While there is no golden temperature in the world of frying, there is a guarantee that the temperature will drop when food is added. Be sure to use a thermometer and check it often to maintain the proper temperature.

Chelsea B. Sanz
Chelsea B. Sanz

Chelsea Sanz has lived in East Tennessee since her family moved here from South Florida just before she started high school. While she initially begrudged her new home state, she eventually realized she had come to not only love it, but to “bleed orange” as University of Tennessee Volunteers fans here like to say. She and her boyfriend Hunter, a trail worker for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, enjoy exploring the nation’s most visited national park and coming up with their own farm-to-table recipes.

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