01-Introduction: Frittering Away

Serves: 5



Crispy, golden brown potato chips. Spicy Buffalo chicken wings dipped into blue cheese sauce. Tender zucchini blossoms in a delicate white wine batter. Still-warm buttermilk doughnuts with an apple cider glaze.

Is your mouth watering? I'll bet it is. It's no surprise that all of these appetite-teasing foods are deep-fried, a cooking technique that may be battered (pun intended) by the food police, but one that will never be abandoned by good cooks. The steak is back, martinis are back, fondue is back, cigars are back, and deep-fried foods never left. I'll admit that more restaurants are serving grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts than ten years ago, but they are also serving more calamari, Buffalo wings, zucchini sticks, mozzarella sticks, sweet potato fries, chimichangas, and countless other deep-fried goodies. Chefs are topping their mashed potatoes with frizzled shallots, garnishing their polenta with deep-fried sage leaves, and shoveling up tons of tortilla chips. Why? Because people love fried food! Studies have shown that hearing and touch, along with the other more obvious senses like taste and smell, also come into play when we eat, and humans find crunchy sounds and crispy textures irresistible. ("Snap, Crackle, and Pop" to you, too!)

There is room for deep-frying in a healthy life style. A good diet is balanced. Unfortunately, too many Americans eat too much fat every day, and don't save special foods for special occasions. (Most of us tend to forget that real exercise is more exerting than getting up from the La-Z-Boy chair to get another snack.) Deep-fried foods are for the times in your life when you want to indulge, celebrate, and have fun. I am not saying deep-fried foods should be everyday fare. But when you do succumb to the temptation of perfectly fried chicken or Grandma's recipe for fried Christmas cookies, they should be wonderful. (It's interesting to note that many old-country holiday recipes, especially those of the Mediterranean, are deep-fried. While households may not have had ovens, they had a stove, a pot, and lots of olive oil.) Some of the recipes in this book could be enjoyed for a weeknight supper, but most of them are most at home in a party setting.

Done correctly, deep-frying creates a delectable crisp coating that just can't be duplicated by other cooking methods. With a couple of exceptions, I have chosen to concentrate on deep-frying, not pan-frying or stir-frying. But deep-frying isn't a common home cooking technique like broiling or sautéing, and people forget the basic rules and start practically from square one every time, forgetting what they may have learned the last time they deep-fried. Cooking in hot oil is really no more complicated than cooking in boiling water. Some foods cook better in simmering water others cook better in boiling water. It's the same with hot fat: Keep it at the proper temperature, and the food will cook beautifully.

Fried & True will show you how to make perfect deep-fried food every time. So get out the deep fryer and get ready to make something delicious!

This 01-Introduction: Frittering Away recipe is from the Fried & True: Crispy and Delicious Dishes from Appetizers to Desserts Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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