Two Spoonfuls: I Fry
For this week’s Two Spoonfuls post we’ll be exploring Chapter #4 of Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here For The Food.
Chapter #4 covers Pan Frying, Immersion Frying and Sauté. I’ve chosen to cover each of these in a separate post, because immersion frying (deep frying) is a new technique for me, and I want to give it my full attention.
This week I made Alton’s recipe for Eggplant Parmesan, in which you pan fry the eggplant before assembling the final dish. Yeah, I know – everybody has panfried something before, but what Alton brings to the table is a wealth of sciencey information, charts and illustrations covering every aspect of frying. After reading this chapter, you’ll know all about: breading, batters, the anatomy of a French fry, why oil and water don’t mix, fat saturations, smoke points, you name it!
Alton’s Basic Steps For Breading and Pan Frying:
1. Season dry food with s & p.
2. Set up an assembly line to bread your food.
3. Dredge food in flour (seasoned but not salted).
4. Shake off excess flour (very, very important).
5. Coat food in eggs (beaten with 2t. water per egg).
6. Coat with crumbs.
7. Let rest for at least 30 minutes so egg has time to set.
8. Fry in fat no deeper than 1/2 height of food.
Eggplant just beginning to fry.
Nicely browned and crispy.
I layered my slices in an 8″ x 8″ dish, switching between vertical and horizontal.
The final meal – fabulous!
……..have you ever followed a recipe and when you’re all done you think to yourself “What did they mean by that?” I’ve tried many, many recipes in my day and occasionally I come across one of these. For me it’s usually something along the lines of “Now add anchovies” when anchovies weren’t part of the ingredient list. Things like that can usually be explained by an editing error or simple oversight.
Oddly enough, I found myself with that same feeling of “What the heck, Alton Brown?” after I completed this recipe. There were minor things that can be explained by personal preference; for example, this recipe calls for a mere 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs. Maybe I used a larger eggplant than Alton did… or maybe I couldn’t help myself and was a little more heavy handed with the panko than he is (I love panko!). But I used at least twice the amount of panko that was called for.
But the big question on my mind is why (why, Alton?) does this recipe say “In a heavy-bottom pot, heat 1/2 inch oil to 350°F.” While at the same time you instruct us to “Cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch slices…” And the last of your Basic Steps For Pan Frying clearly says: Fry in fat no deeper than 1/2 height of food. ???
I don’t know the answer to that one.
All I can say is that the eggplant was quite tasty, and overall easy and fun to make.
But I’m scratching my head as to why you’ve contradicted yourself.
Alton doesn’t share this recipe online, but there are many other Eggplant Parmesan recipes that you can try, incorporating Alton’s Basic Steps For Pan Frying. My advice: have a pair of tongs handy, minimize splattering by frying in your Dutch oven, and don’t use too much oil, it’s overkill.
From Tyler Florence
From Bobby Flay
Next time: Immersion Frying (gulp!)
Now lets see what sweet things are happening over in Ginny’s kitchen!
Jenn : )