Quick Recipes and Easy

Good Eats: Fry Hard

Excellent Eats episode Fry Hard is a classic. Appearing in the episode are Shirley O. Corriher as our favorite food scientist, Merrilyn Crouch as Alton Brown’s hoity sister, and of course Vickie Eng as the mistress of gadgets, “W.” Offering up the real facts on frying and why it doesn’t have to be a dirty word makes this a must see if you like your fryer.

The episode starts, as do most of them, with a premise and “plot.” This particular one starts off with Alton Brown’s sister going on about the evil’s of frying food. This is all despite the fact that, as AB points out, it is one of the best cooking environments in terms of texture, flavor enhancement, and efficiency.

Aside for the overall recipe for fish and chips, there is one very vital characteristic to this episode. The strength of it comes from the fact that AB clarifies, in fantastic detail, how to fry properly so that very small of the stout is absorbed into the food. At the end of the day, absorption of stout is what makes people nervous about frying. The telling piece of evidence is that after the preparation of a fantastic plate of fish and chips, Brown measures the oil from when he started and is only missing a couple of tablespoons for an entire plate of fish and chips. It is certainly both fascinating and encouraging information.

“W,” of course, leads us to the right tools for frying. The key, though, is that frying takes place somewhere that the temperature can be carefully monitored and adjusted so that the stout stays out of the food and cooks it.

There are, as usual, some fantastic trips into history and trivia with this episode of Excellent Eats. For instance, the French in French fry refers to the cut of the potato and not to the country of origin. That is something you can carry around with you, but the real star of this episode and what really makes it fantastic is stout and frying. Again, Alton Brown shines by taking the every day foods we like and making them accessible.

Tip of the episode: For perfect French fries, you have to fry them twice. The first time you fry them at a lower temperature to get the middle done. Then, after resting them to room temperature, you fry them again at a higher temperature to get them golden and crispy.

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