You’ll notice I didn’t use a definite article. I’m sure someone reading this has been slinging fries longer than I’ve been alive and has much more to add. However, these are the big tips for safety and success I learned last night making gluten-free hush puppies.
- Choose a high temperature oil – I know that seems glaringly obvious. Still unless your actual goal is to convince the neighbors that the building is on fire and/or give all your work clothes that cloying burnt potato chip aroma, use an oil with a high smoke point. Grapeseed, peanut and safflower oil all work. Even better many oils say they are (or are not suitable for high heat) right on the label so take the extra few seconds and look.
- Use a thermometer and use hot oil– Frying success has a lot to do with putting the item you are frying into objectively hot oil. Not oil that ‘must’ be hot because of the cool swirling effect at the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil to the temp the recipe calls for (or two to three degrees above, because there is cooling when you add the food) and success is nearly assured.
- Use a deep pan – Not all of us are blessed with the budgets or room for a deep fryer. It’s okay! A nice deep 3-6 qt pot will do. And the deeper the better. Ever had a hot oil burn? Do you want one? Right high pot ‘walls’ help prevent popping or splashing oil from getting on you or your stove top/other burners where it might, y’know, ignite (a scenario also know as bad)
- Cook in batches – I know, I know. You want to get out to the party mix and mingle and enjoy those piping hot deep fried green beans. However, if you crowd the pan you will not acquire that desired all around crispness. The last batch is always the most flavorful and maybe your guests don’t need to know about it *wink*wink*.
- Know where (and what) your safety equipment is – Nothing says Dante’s Inferno like an agile, voracious, licking, grease fire. I don’t know you personally, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say you don’t want one of those. DO NOT TRY TO PUT OUT A GREASE FIRE WITH WATER. Your best friends in this fight are: That thermometer that will remind you that the oil is 350 degrees. The lid to that nice deep pot which will smother. Baking soda. Your fire extinguisher. Professional help. If a fire gets out of hand A) get yourself and anyone else out of harm’s way and B) get folks who know how to handle this in there.
If you don’t smoke up the house and know how hot your oil is and prevent oil from splashing out a fire is really unlikely. Instead you can just have something yummy and frittered and doesn’t that just make life better?