Frying gets a bad reputation. Sure you can go to any restaurant and get fried foods, but you never know what’s in them. Restaurant fried food can be filled with saturated and trans fats. Plus, do you really want to rely on teenagers frying your food? Frying is one of the best techniques in any cooks arsenal. Master this and you can add all sorts of flavors and textures to your own food.
The Mediterranean Diet relies on healthy oil, so if we fry with healthy oil then it becomes part of a healthy diet. Of course, I still don’t recommend frying on a regular basis. At most, only fry once or twice a week because it can become addicting. And on days that you do fry, remember to cut back on the rest of the fats in your meal. That means try eating boiled or roasted side dishes that don’t need added oil.
Let me run you through the steps to mastering frying.
- Make sure the food you are frying is near room temperature. This will ensure that it cooks fast, evenly, and doesn’t have to soak in oil.
- In a bowl add cornmeal, whole wheat flour, or whole grain bread. Coat the food being fried with whatever grain you chose. Then allow it to sit on the counter for at least 5 minutes. This helps the coating stick onto the food, so that it doesn’t fall off in the oil.
- Optional: If you want a thick crust you can use wheat flour as a first coating. Then dip into an egg wash (1 egg+ 1 tb of milk). And coat with a final layer of whatever grain you choose. Remember to let the food sit on the counter for at least 5 minutes to stick.
- Fry in canola, vegetable, sunflower, or peanut oil on 350F to 400F depending on the thickness of your food. Thicker foods, like chicken require lower (350F) to medium (375F) heats. Do not use Crisco or animal fat to fry food! These options are filled with unhealthy fat. Also don’t use olive oil to fry. It has a low smoke point, so it will burn at low temperatures.
- Once fried, use a paper towel to drain and pat off extra oil.
There you have it! Frying made easy and healthy. Maybe I’ll reveal the secret to great batter or tempura frying next. Until then, check out my other cooking technique guides! They cover a variety of awesome topics that can make you amazing in the kitchen.