My new favorite gadget in the kitchen is a actually a bit larger than your standard gadget. Its not an electric can opener or spice grinder. Technically, it lies somewhere between the boundary of gadget and appliance. I’m talking about my new deep fryer.
It fits neatly on my counter, or on a shelf in my pantry when I’m not using it, and cooking all manner of delicious fried foods is a simple breeze, with little to no mess. As an alternative to messy frying pans and splattering droplets of hot oil across the stove, it simply can’t be beat.
There are literally dozens of deep fryers to choose from, some good, some bad, some decently affordable, and others so abnormally expensive you better be prepared to utilize it quite often in order to justify the cost.
For under $100, you should have no problem finding something efficient and suitable, capable of frying up tender pieces of fried chicken, scrumptious shrimp, delectable crab cakes, and my favorite, homemade french fries.
In my quest for my own deep fryer, I found three models that fit the bill quite nicely. Prices may vary from store to store, but all three models were listed at under $100.00 at some establishments, and some web stores such as Amazon.com may in fact have them listed at lower prices than the brick and mortar stores.
The first model is the Euro-Pro F1066 5-liter Deep Fryer. Made of stainless steel, this electronic deep fryer is easy to use, clean, and store. Using a digital control panel, you simply set the desired temperature, and wait for the unit to heat the oil, which can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending upon the temperature desired. An indicator light will let you know when it is ready. Then, you load up your food of choice in the basket capable of holding two pounds of food, set a timer if desired, and let the fryer go to work.
The fryer will heat the oil anywhere from 155Ã?Âº to 385Ã?Âº. The lid has a view window to monitor your food. Other features include a breakaway cord that disconnects easily from the unit if accidentally pulled on, saving yourself and your kitchen from messy and potentially dangerous accidents. A reset button is also set in the back should the unit become overheated and automatically shut off. The fryer is also equipped with handles on the side for easy carrying. Both the basket and inside container are easily removed for washing in a dishwasher. The heating element is attached to the digital readout portion of the unit and must be hand-washed.
The DeLonghi boasts dual zone technology which is intended to heat and cook the food without burning it, and produce a delicious meal without overpowering odors and absorption of too much oil. Where this unit stands out from the Euro-Pro is in its easy and clever drainage system. A door set in the front of the fryer allows you to easily and drain the oil from a tube into a container, saving yourself the awkward task of having to lift the whole unit to pour out the oil. The basket also allows up to three pounds of food compared to the Euro-Pro’s two pounds, making it a better choice for larger families.
For a little creative frying flair in the kitchen, behold the Presto 05464 Dual Basket ProFry. Again with similar design, and removable elements for washing, this fryer differs from the others in that it allows the frying of two foods at the same time, thanks to its two side-by-side baskets. Notches also allow one basket to be centered within the oil. A digital readout allows the thermostat to be set to up to 375Ã?Âº F. As with the other fryers, an indicator let you know when the oil has reached the desired temperature, and the fryer would not be complete without the standard removable safety power cord.
Unless you feel you will commonly be attempting to fry more than one food item at a time, I would choose the DeLonghi. Its larger basket and easy to drain feature makes it the ideal choice.
All fryers are finished with stainless steel and matte black accents. A tip when using any deep fryer; once the oil has heated, place the empty basket into the oil, then gently place the food into the basket, being careful to avoid being burned. You can use tongs to aid in this. This will help prevent the food from sticking to the basket.
You may want to place the fryer under the range of your stove; this will reduce the aromas that may fill up the kitchen and surrounding rooms.
Oil will reduce gradually over time each time you cook something, but need not be replaced continually unless overly dirtied by foodstuff such as bread crumbs. You will use about a gallon of oil to fill the fryers to the proper levels.
Remember, with a product such as this, safety is an important factor. The heated oil will take a significantly long time to cool, and the sides of the unit will be very hot to the touch. Make sure to keep the fryer away from the roaming hands of children, and leave the lid on while frying to prevent splattering.