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Deep frying?

For many years, I avoided deep-frying. The first reason was that it’s messy. The second is that it’s not regarded as healthy.

Then again …

When I measure the oil before and after frying, I find that surprisingly little oil is lost — certainly less than a stir-fry, which is regarded as healthy. Also, I have been eating a lot of tofu during the past few months. Tofu loves to be gently browned in a deep pot of oil. I think I have decided to embrace deep-frying.

To manage the mess, some kind of system helps. I use a very deep, very heavy, copper Windsor pot, 9.5 inches wide at the top. A slotted spoon serves to move things in and out. Afterwards, I let the oil cool, then pour it through a funnel and wire-mesh filter into a glass bottle. I re-use the oil, and I keep it in the refrigerator, because I suspect that liquids and particles that remain in the oil even after filtering probably ought to be refrigerated. Recipes for deep-frying suggest a temperature of 340 degrees Fahrenheit or somewhat higher. But I find that 320F is fine, as long as you’re cooking smallish amounts of food from room temperature and thus don’t cool down the oil too much. I use peanut oil.

I want to do more experiments with deep-frying fish — a Southern American favorite. I keep my fish oil separate, also in the refrigerator. I have never had, or even heard of, deep-fried salmon. But I’m going to try that soon.

The tofu in the photo is sauced with a kind of Korean sauce. It’s honey, some ketchup, pepper paste, miso paste, and a touch of vinegar.

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