TIPS FOR FRYING FRITTERS
Your goal is to make deep fried fritters that are crusty on the outside, fully cooked inside, and not greasy. However, as always, approach hot oil with extreme caution:
- Your choice of pan matters. The recipes that follow range in the depth of oil required from 1/8 inch to 2 inches. A deep skillet will work for shallow depths, but for deeper oil you might want to use a deeper pot. Remember that when you add the fritter batter to hot oil it may bubble up, sometimes dramatically. If it overflows and makes contact with the flame below, your kitchen will be on fire. DO NOT increase the amount of oil the recipe calls for.
- A pan with deep sides will reduce spattering. A wide pan will allow you to fry more pieces at once, but will require considerably more oil; a narrower pan will conserve oil but will mean you must cook in batches. Resist the temptation to make larger batches. More fritters will reduce the heat of the oil and the fritters could stick together and not cook properly. A bigger batch also increases the chance of an oil overflow. Cook only 5 or 6 fritters at a time, or fewer if the pan seems crowded.
- Use vegetable oil or another oil with a high smoking point and heat the oil slowly, over moderate heat, to the temperature stated in the recipe (here somewhere between 300* and 375*). A deep-frying thermometer will take the mystery out of whether the oil has reached the desired temperature. Remember to reheat the oil to the required temperature between batches.
- Test fry one fritter until brown all over. Drain and break it open; if the inside is at all raw, the oil is too hot; lower the heat. Turn when the bottom is nicely browned (though if the oil is deep enough they will often turn themselves). Dunk fritter tops under the oil occasionally too, and fry until golden on all sides. Drain on a wire rack or on a nest of crumpled paper towels (since they will get soggy sitting on flat towels or brown paper).
- After the oil has cooled completely, strain it and store it in a closed container in a cool place. You can use it again three or four times.