February 15, 2011
Dear Chef Ken,
Why on earth when I fry ANYTHING in Oil that has been dipped in flour, does the flour fall off and burn in the oil before the food is done? I end up having to pour the oil out and start again with the second batch. This seems to happen more with Olive Oil frying, which is why I prefer Peanut oil. I don’t start until my oil is smoking hot. This is especially a problem with eggplant & zucchini. Should I add cornmeal to my batter? Should I double dip or dip in milk, water or egg? ;(( Thanks for any advice! Shawna
No matter what you do, some of the batter/breading will fall off and burn in the bottom of the fryer, that is why in the restaurant we drain the fryer after each shift and strain the oil carefully before putting it back in the fryer. The oil has four enemies: heat, moisture, light, and food. You can’t eliminate all of them, but you can make it better for the oil if you understand this.
Heat – use only oil that can stand the heat. Olive oil has a smoke point of about 300 degrees, which is not hot enough for frying. So when you use olive oil you destroy it before it gets hot enough to fry. Peanut oil has a very high smoke point, about 400. That makes it a great oil for frying since that is done around 350. The best oils for frying are formulated to stand the heat. My advice, stay away from olive oil.
Moisture – try to make sure that the things you fry don’t have a lot of excess moisture on the surface such as frost from the freezer. You can’t eliminate moisture all together, just try to keep it off the surface of the food.
Light – keep your oils and fats in a dark place that is cool and dry.
Food – it’s the point of frying to put the food in the oil, right? The important thing is to keep as much waste out of the fryer as possible. The rule of thumb for breading or battering foods is “dry – wet – dry”. This means that you need to start by dredging the food item into “dry” (like flour or seasoned flour or a pre-dust), then put it into “wet (like buttermilk, or batter, or even water), then coat it with “dry” (like seasoned flour, or cornmeal, or breadcrumbs). If you want more coating, repeat the wet and dry. This process is called paner in the French tradition.
Hope this helps,
February 11, 2011
At Chef’s Requested Foods our mission is to be “The Cook’s Best Friend.” However, if you are not a cook but would love to make a delicious Chef’s Requested Filet Mignon for your loved one on Valentine’s Day here are some simple instructions that are virtually foolproof
1. Go to the grocery store and purchase these items:
* Package of Chef’s Requested Foods Filet Mignon
* Two baking potatoes and whatever toppings you prefer to have on said potatoes.
* Bagged salad and salad dressing if it is not included with the bagged salad.
* Some vegetable that you can steam in the bag.
* A loaf of French bread
2. When you are getting ready to cook the dinner give yourself approximately 45 minutes to make everything and have it on the table.
3. Take the loaf of French bread and cut it into slices. You can place this on a plate or in a basket and place it on the table.
4. Wash the two baking potatoes well and stab them with a fork a few times. You will then place them in the microwave to cook. Most microwaves have a baked potato button. If your microwave does not have the baked potato button I find that two medium size potatoes cook in about 8 to 10 minutes. You want them to be able to be squeezed slightly without feeling hard. You can over cook them so it is better to start with the lower time and then go in increments after that.
5. Take the Chef’s Requested Filet Mignon out of the package and place them both in a skillet. You will cook them for about 8 to 10 minutes each side on medium heat. You want them to look nice and brown on each side. I like to cover my pan with a lid or piece of foil while I am cooking them.
6. While the Chef’s Requested Filet Mignon is cooking and the baked potatoes are in the microwave take the salad out of the bag and place it in a bowl or on a plate and take it to the table. You may mix in the dressing if you chose one with a dressing or you may put the dressing bottle on the table for your loved one to add their desired amount of dressing.
7. When the baked potatoes are done cooking in the microwave take them out and put them on the plates. If you take a sharp knife and cut the potato lengthwise (but not all the way through) and then take the heel of your hand and hit the potato sharply you can then pinch the ends in towards the middle and the potato will fluff open like in a restaurant. You can also fluff the insides up a little with a fork.
8. Don’t forget to flip the steaks.
9. Place the frozen steamable vegetables in the microwave and cook for the time stated on the package.
10. Once the vegetables are cooked and the steak finished all you need to do is put everything on the plate together and serve the food.
If you are making a filet mignon dinner for a loved one PLEASE remember that cleaning up the kitchen afterwards is part of it. It takes the romance out of you cooking if you stick your loved one with a big mess. However, if you cook like I advised you there should be minimal cleanup.