I’m just using Chanukah as an excuse to use my new deep fryer. After years of eschewing unnecessary kitchen appliances I finally broke down and bought a little Cuisinart deep fryer and it has change the way I think about deep-frying for ever. At first I was worried at how small the fryer was, but after several uses I find it does everything I need to. When I made Salt Cod Fritters* I was able to fry 6 at a time, while the cooked ones were sitting on paper shedding excess oil the next batch was already cooking. In 3 three batches I was done.
French fries and donuts where the two things that didn’t seem like they would work. Only 2 donuts fit at a time, which isn’t such a problem as they need to sit on a rack for a bit to dry out before you glaze/ice them, so this is a rare instance where you can deep fry ahead of time. My solution when making donuts that needed to be served right away was to make donut holes (see picture above). I made cake donuts** and a yeast donuts.*** Other early experiments in deep-frying included: over the top Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Croquettes and Jalapeno Goat Cheese Hush Puppies. They were both easy to make and really tasty. My rule of thumb is to use Panko Bread crumbs whenever a recipes calls for breadcrumbs (just FYI;-).These are the Smoked Salmon and Cream cheese croquettes before frying.
The only thing I think this Cuisinart Deep Fryer isn’t good for is French Fries. In order to get french fries crisp and to make them in bulk, you need a pan with a large flat area, so I used my 12′ cast iron frying pan attached with a thermometer.
Often I find that historically deep-frying with a large frying pan the temperature is wonky, too hot or not hot enough, one side of the Latkes is perfect the other too done. I had a festival of Korean chicken wings a few months ago and we practically needed to wear hazmat suits with all the hot oil spurting all over the place. It was the thing that finally got me to get a deep fryer. It solves the temperature fluctuation problem, everything I have made it in has turn out perfect brown on both sides. And because there is a cover, there is no splattering.
So if you have been on the fence for 2 decades or longer about if it is worth the 40 odd bucks to buy a deep frying machine, take it from me: It’s worth it. Oh and the best thing about this little fryer is that it isn’t an oil guzzler.
* This recipe only called for the cod to be soaked not cooked, I didn’t think even after a night and many water changes that my cod was ready, so I poached it in milk until it go soft. Drained it squeezed out the extra moisture and proceeded with the recipe. Maybe because of this extra step I felt the recipe needed more salt so cook one first taste and adjust to your liking.
** I didn’t use the glaze in the chocolate one instead I used the chocolate dipping sauce in the yeast one for booth.
*** This is a weird recipe. First off the spiced sugar that you dip the donuts is pretty funky with Paprika, Cumin, Coriander, Black Pepper and then more traditional sweet spices. Just to hedge my bets I made a ginger sugar alternative. Also I didn’t add the lemon peel into the dough or the orange peel into the sauce. I live with a peel phobic person. The lemon peel would have been great in the donut, which is a bit plain and very bread like – for some reason I thought it would have a crispy exterior and a very airy interior, in reality, mine had a dense spongy bread fried bread aspect, which really need both the spiced sugar and the chocolate to make it worthwhile. I don’t think I would make it again, but include it because I think it is such an odd recipe. If I did make it again I would not use the paprika or cumin. I liked the black pepper and might add some powdered ginger.