When the fat begin? to smoke put in a bit of bread; if it brown quickly, or while you can count sixty as the clock ticks, it is hot enough for fried potatoes, doughnuts, etc. When hot enough to brown the bread while you count forty, it will do for fish balls, croquettes, etc.
When ready to fry, plunge the basket into the hot fat to grease it, and then place in it the croquettes, or whatever you may be frying, so that they will not touch each other. Hold the handle of the basket with a long fork, and plunge it quickly into the fat, but do not drop the handle, because if the fat begin to boil up, you can then raise the basket quickly, and wait till the ebullition has subsided before plunging it in again; and thus avoid the danger of burning from the overflowing fat. The fat cools rapidly, when many articles are fried at once, and should be reheated to the test point before frying any more.
Any cooked mixture, such as fish balls and croquettes, or very small fish, oysters, scallops, etc., will be fried brown in one minute. Thicker fish, chops, and fritters require longer cooking; and, after plunging them into the hot fat, the kettle should be set back from the fire to prevent them from becoming too brown before they are sufficiently cooked. While frying, be careful not to spill any fat on the stove. Keep a tin plate in your left hand, and hold it under the basket, or ladle, as you take things from the fat.
Thorough draining is another secret of nice frying, and you cannot find a much hotter place than right over the hot fat; so hold your basket of fried food over the hot fat, and shake slightly, till all dripping has stopped. Then place the fried articles on soft or unglazed paper, to absorb the fat, and keep them hot till ready to serve. Never pile fried articles one on another.