By frying we mean cooking in deep fat. Any. pure, clear fat that is free from strong odor will answer the purpose. In order that the frying be properly done, (1) the fat used for frying must be clarified unless already clear. To clarify fat, put where it will melt, and slice into it one small raw potato. Cook until it ceases to bubble, but do not make it hot enough to burn the potato. Strain through a fine sieve, pouring it carefully from the sediment. (2) The temperature of the fat must be high enough to sear the surface of the article cooked as nearly instantaneously as possible, in order that the juices be preserved inside the food, and consequently the flavor be unimpaired. The quick cooking prevents all the absorption of fat, which is a very important matter in fried food.
Before there is any danger of the fat burning, a slice of raw potato should be dropped into it. As soon as the potato becomes brown, the grease is hot enough for frying most things. Keep a piece of potato in the fat when nothing is cooking, to prevent the fat burning.
The thing of importance is that the fat be sufficiently deep to immerse the article fried, as it will then cook at once on all sides. For perfect frying, articles should be round or spherical, as articles of this shape will fry more perfectly because the sides touch less, and all parts are exposed to the action of the heat. Only a few articles of food should be put in at one time, lest the heat of the grease be reduced below the frying temperature.
The frying basket should be dipped into the fat before the food is put into it. If the articles to be fried are of a delicate nature, as oysters or croquettes, they should be put into the basket, the basket should then be lowered slowly into the hot fat, but in general the basket should be lowered empty, and the articles to be fried put into it one by one.
Fried Food may be Divided Into Three Classes, - First, that class of food which requires no protection to prevent the absorption of grease, as potatoes and rice. Second, those foods which need protection, as chicken, fish, etc. Third, that class which is perfectly soft and moist, or of perfectly smooth surface, and which, on account of one or more of these conditions, must be given all the protection possible. Articles of this class of foods should be rolled in a mixture of equal parts of wheat flour and cornmeal, in order that the surface be rendered dry and rough before applying the coating of egg. To this class belong oysters and croquettes.
Pare the potatoes, cut into the desired shape and soak in ice water until wanted for frying. Heat the grease in the frying kettle, and test its temperature with a slice of potato. In the meantime drain the potatoes in a colander, and shake in a towel to remove the moisture. Lower the basket into the grease, and add a few slices of potato at a time, until the bottom is covered. The rapidity with which the potatoes may be put in must be determined by the appearance of the fat. If the surface of the liquid becomes covered with bubbles, let it become hotter before adding more food, as the bubbles indicate that the grease is not hot enough. When the potatoes are done, lift the basket, shake the grease off, and turn the articles into a dish lined with several folds of cheesecloth. Serve on a napkin on a platter.