March 01, 2003

Fear of Frying

It was that kind of week, so last night I made Buffalo Chicken Wings. Not exactly at the cutting edge of the culinary world, but there you go.

- 2 dozen defrosted chicken wings, cut into 1st and 2nd sections
Fry in deep fat until very crispy and browned -- about 10-15 minutes. While that's going on, make the sauce.

- 2 T vinegar
- 1/2 small bottle of Frank's Hot Sauce
Bring to boil in pot. Then reduce to low and add
- 1/2 stick butter
Swirl/whisk to combine, remove from heat.

Place wings in a stainless steel bowl, pour on sauce, toss to coat.

The above is the "more authentic" and also my "lazy mode" version of wings. Like I said, it was that kind of week. When I'm feeling less lazy, I usually:
- brine the wings first in a spiced brine
- coat them in a seasoned flour
- add a very small amount of BBQ sauce to the sauce, and typically make it a bit more complex with the addition of more of a variety of hot sauces.

People are scared of deep fat frying, and I'll be the first to admit that there are plenty of things about it worth being scared of. A few tips:
- Use a large pot, never fill more than half full of oil
- Have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen -- you should have one anyway!
- A combination of a brass "spider" strainer plus a coarse strainer are a great way to get things out of the oil. Dip from the oil with the first into the later, holding the whole works above to make for easy draining.
- I have 3 large (1.5 gallon) bottles of salad oil. The first is new oil. The second holds strained oil that's only been used a few times (and is labeled "FRY" on the cap). The third is used oil that I need to toss (and is labeled "DUMP"). When the third is full, I cap it with the new cap, and shift all of the oils down (DUMP get dumped, FRY becomes DUMP, what's left of the fresh bottle becomes "FRY" and the new full bottle is, well, new)
- I have a deep fat thermometer, but after a bit you get pretty good at telling oil temperature by eye. I only use it when I'm preparing a more fancy recipe that calls for exact temperatures. Frying things at the proper temperature and draining well drastically reduces the amount of oil in the final product.

I really don't fry things all that often, but it's a good cooking skill to have. You can mix up the tastes and textures of dishes by having fried components as part of them.

Posted by dowdy at March 1, 2003 08:50 AM