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Cook Like a Boss: Cheese Curds

Amber Graefen


Nov 7th, 2017

Fried chicken. French fries. Fried doughnuts. If fried foods make your mouth water, imagine how all of this would taste if made at home. Your home.

Learning to fry favorite foods and equipping your kitchen to pull it off conveniently and safely could be the best thing that’s happened since the day you brought home a microwave.

Choose the right oil — Pick cooking oils that have a higher “smoke point” than the cooking temperature you are working with. Good choices include peanut, soybean and sunflower oils.

Before frying, pat food dry with paper towels — This prevents moisture on the food from making the hot oil splatter

Heat oil to appropriate temperature — Typically, you’ll heat oil to 350-440 degrees. When using a deep pot, use a probe thermometer. To get an accurate reading, hold your thermometer upright in the center of the pot to check the temp.

Be ready to cook fast — Food cooks quickly in hot oil. You won’t need more than 30 seconds for pre-cooked food. Small pieces of food fry faster and more evenly than big ones. Use a slotted deep-fry spoon, long tongs or frying basket to slowly submerge and remove food from oil.

Drain fried food on paper towels — Allow paper towels to drain as much fat from the food as possible. Blotting works, too. But leave enough oil on food to preserve desired taste.

Cut food into similar sizes when possible to fry everything at the same rate.

Fry in small batches. Crowding food makes the oil temperature drop. Reheat oil to appropriate temperature between batches.

Check food once it looks golden brown. If it’s golden brown on the outside but uncooked on the inside, drop the temperature to about 325 degrees. Check food again after a few minutes.

Choose a deep pot. Never fill more than half full of oil. The oil should be a minimum of 4 inches below the rim and there should be enough of it to submerge food completely.

For crispier results, keep stirring food gently.

Never throw water on an oil or grease fire. Suffocate fire with a damp cloth, baking soda or fire extinguisher.

Correctly fried food absorbs little oil during the cooking. Frying does not remove proteins. And you can keep fried foods as healthy as possible by using unsaturated oils like canola, corn, peanut, safflower, soybean or sunflower. Saturated fats and trans fats in deep-fried foods increase the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.

Fry: Plantain chips, coconut shrimp, red bliss potatoes, zucchini slices, strawberries, pickles, mushrooms, steak cubes.

Flour and water batter — Great for thin fish fillets with a delicate flavor like sole or pollock. In a large bowl, beat 1 cup of flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt into 2 cups water. Let stand for 30 minutes before using.

Baking powder batter — For a crunchy crust, baking powder is best. Use this batter immediately or it will lose its leavening power. In a large bowl, mix, 3/4 cup flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a large bowl. Whisk in 1 cup of water until smooth.

Beer batter — If you love the taste of beer, go with beer batter. Use your favorite ale or lager. You can make a non-alcoholic version with club soda or mineral water. In a large, mix 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gently whisk in 1 cup of beer until smooth. Use immediately.

Egg white batter — This batter forms fluffy, tender pouches around fish or seafood. In a large bowl, mix 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt with 1 cup of cold water until smooth. Set aside and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Just before deep-frying, beat 3 egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until they form medium peaks. Gently fold the whites into the flour-water mix. Use immediately.


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