Episode #3: The Frying Nunn

Published On: Apr 09 2013 05:14:33 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 05 2013 09:56:04 AM EDT

Learn how to fry chicken and shrimp without leaving a mess in your pan

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

On this episode of Culinary Nunnsense we break out the oil, the cast iron pan, some chicken, some shrimp and we get to frying.
 
Is it the caramel brown crust?  Maybe it's the crunch?  Or is it the temptation that brings even the healthiest of eaters to sneak a bite or two?  Whatever the reason, when you decide to eat a little naughty these simple steps will ensure that the crust is crunchy, the meat is juicy and the guilt is satisfying.
 
Set up a "dredging station" to minimize mess and make cleanup easy.  Put your ingredients and mixtures in shallow bowls or baking dishes.
 
Work in one direction, left to right,  moving from seasoned flour to egg wash, milk or water over to seasoned flour, bread crumbs, panko or coating mixture.
 
In this episode we focus on the 3 step process.  Our dredging station starts with lightly seasoned flour, milk (wet), seasoned flour for flavor and crunch.

Have one wet hand and one dry hand.  Use your wet hand to coat your protein, your dry hand for cooking.
 
Choose oils with a high smoke point:  Peanut oil, Grape Seed oil, vegetable oil and lard are all good choices.
 
To get truly golden-brown and crispy chicken, use a cast iron skillet. You can't beat cast iron for even heat distribution and reliable frying.
 
The fat should be about one inch deep in the skillet, coming about halfway up the food.
 
Get the fat good and hot before adding the chicken: about 350 - 375 degrees F
 
Using tongs or your fingers, carefully lower the chicken pieces into the oil starting with the edge of the piece close to you and lay it in the oil working away from yourself to avoid spatters.
 
Fry in batches: overcrowding the pan will lower the temperature of the oil, causing more oil to be absorbed and result in soggy, greasy chicken.
 
When the chicken pieces are a deep golden brown, remove them to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet, paper towel or old news paper to catch any drips.
 
If you are unsure of cooking time or temperature it is better to be safe than sorry.  Insert an instant-read thermometer into the chicken to make sure it is fully cooked before moving on to the next batch. The USDA recommends cooking chicken to a minimum of 165 degrees F.
 
Try different seasonings and techniques.  If you are doing pork chops try adding some good, freshly grated parmesan cheese to your seasoned flour.  Add some unsweetened coconut or curry powders to your seasoned flour for a tropical or Thai twist. The best way to discover your favorite method is to play with your food.
 
Whether it's chicken, shrimp, pork or tofu I think if you play with these steps and seasonings you too will agree when it comes to crunchy-fried goodness there is Nunn better.

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