Each type of cooking oil has a smoke point. This is the temperature at which the oil starts smoking. If the oil smokes it starts to break down fast and will give the food a bad taste.
. The best types of oil to use for deep frying, and their smoking points are, peanut oil 450 degrees, corn oil 450, grape seed 420, safflower 510, soybean 460, sunflower 440, and canola 400.
. Never leave hot oil unattended. Most oils will burst into flames around 600 degrees. . If the oil smokes or flames up do not add water, this could actually cause an explosion. Turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid or a cookie sheet.
. Make sure the oil you use is refined oil. Do not use unrefined oils. Their smoke points are much lower. . It is possible to reuse cooking oil if you strain it and refrigerate it. However, the cleaner the oil, the better the food will fry. Because of the heat, the oil will break down each time you use it. This causes the smoking point to lower and also causes trans fats to form in the oil. Trans fats are known to raise cholesterol. For the best taste use oil only once.
. Conventional deep fryers works best but any heavy pan that will hold 2-3 inches of oil will do. A heavy bottom pan is best for keeping the temperature of the oil even.
. You need oil deep enough to totally submerse the food.
. You should have a pan 4-6 inches deep.
. Don’t fill the pan any more than ½ full. There should be 3-4 inches of head space in the pan to allow for bubbles when you add the food. This also helps with spattering.
. Splatter guards are good for controlling hot oil splatters. They are basically screens placed over the pan while cooking.
. If the recipe does not call for a specific temperature 360 -375 degrees is usually best for deep frying fish.
. If the temperature of the oil is to low the food being cooked will absorb the oil and take on a greasy taste.
. If the temperature is to high the breading will burn before the food is cooked.
. Frying and candy thermometers work great.
. If you don’t have a thermometer there are methods to check the temperature.
. Wet the tip of your finger and flick it at the oil. Not much water, just a drop. If it is hot enough, it will sizzle immediately.
. Place a bread cube in the oil. If it is hot enough the bread cube will brown in 60 seconds.
. A pinch of flour should sizzle when dropped into the oil, if it is hot enough.
. Bring the fish to room temperature before cooking. That way the oil temperature won’t drop as much when you add the fish.
. To keep the oil temperature even, fry the food in small batches. Let the oil heat back to the right temperature between batches.
. Leaner fish do better for deep frying than oily fish. Rinse under cold water and dry very well. Water on the outside of the fish will make the oil spatter.
. Paper towels work good.
. Take a spoon and glide it backwards lightly over the flesh.
. Air dry on a rack for about 20 minutes
Deep fry the fish in small batches. This helps keep the oil temperature higher and prevents the fish from absorbing the oil.
. Do not salt the fish before cooking. Salt right after you pull it from the oil.
. Small pieces cook better and faster than large or thick pieces.
. If you are using a deep frying basket put the basket into the oil first. Let it heat with the oil. If you put the fish into the basket first and then lower into the food you will lose some of the breading or batter on the basket.
. The oil is very hot. Use long tongs or deep frying spoon to remove the fish.
. Don’t use spring loaded tongs. If you lose your grip the spring action could cause a splash of hot oil.
. One of the best ways to drain the fish is on a rack over a cookie sheet. If you don’t have this you can drain on a couple layers of paper towels.
. Keep the fish warm between batches in a 200 degree oven.