Caramelizing, frying and sauteing techniques are rather straightforward, however it doesn’t hurt to keep a few ‘trade secret’ tricks in mind when working at the stovetop. With my 12 frying tips, you’ll master the pan in no time at all!
1. If you want your food to caramelize, slow and easy is usually the way to go. The natural sugars released by the food brown as they cook. Slow cooking yields caramelized and fast cooking yields scorched.
2. To achieve maximum caramelization on your vegetables, make certain they are dry before you start.
3. When frying, if you need to add a little more oil to the pan, add it around the side of the pan. By the time it hits the food in the center, it will be the right temperature.
4. Don’t cover anything you want to get or stay crispy either while in the pan or after it is removed.
5. When pan-frying, don’t crowd the skillet. The pieces will steam each other and prevent the food from gaining a crispy texture
6. Frying in olive oil? Ditch the extra virgin olive oil in lieu of extra light. It has a higher smoke point, meaning it will heat to a greater temperature without burning.
7. Moderate heat is usually a cook’s best friend when frying. Spattering oil is caused by excessive heat and can easily ignite into a grease fire. A gentle sizzle is all that is needed to fry nearly all foods.
8. When frying bacon, add a little water to the pan. The water will eventually cook off allowing the bacon to crisp up, but in the meantime, it will help keep your stovetop splatter-free.
9. If you don’t have a splatter screen, trying using an inverted mesh colander over your skillet to avoid a mess
10. When breading fish or meat for frying, don’t forget the egg. Dredge in flour, egg and then breadcrumbs. The egg combines with the flour to bind the breadcrumbs to the surface.
11. For the best results, use fresh oil. Clean oil will allow you to cook at higher temperatures resulting in a crispier dish. Reused oil will smoke at a much lower temperature due to the dissolved impurities.
12. You can tell when your oil is hot enough to begin frying when a tiny pinch of flour added to the hot oil sizzles when dropped in.