Our newest addition to our kitchen gadgets is none other than … a DEEP FRYER. Yes, very healthy.
GE Deep Fryer ($50 – Walmart)
What better to do on a quiet Friday night, but to finally break out the fryer? On the menu:
-Homemade french fries
-Our very own fried calamari
-“Almost from scratch” pizza
Homemade French Fries Recipe (courtesy of Emeril):
- 4 large russet or kinnebec potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 by 1/4-inch thick batons
- 2 quarts peanut oil
- Salt and pepper
Rinse cut potatoes in a large bowl with lots of cold running water until water becomes clear. Cover with water by 1-inch and cover with ice. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.
In a deep-fryer, heat the oil to 325 degrees F. Be sure not to fill the oil beyond the maximum fill line.
Drain ice water from cut fries and wrap potato pieces in a clean dishcloth or tea towel and thoroughly pat dry. Add fries, a handful at a time, to the hot oil. Fry, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft and limp and begin to turn a blond color, about 6 to 8 minutes. Use the basket to carefully remove fries from the oil and set aside to drain on paper towels. Let rest for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours.
When ready to serve the French fries, reheat the oil to 350 degrees F. Transfer the blanched potatoes to the hot oil and fry again, stirring frequently, until golden brown and puffed, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to paper lined platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.
Our Very Own Fried Calamari
-1 cup of flower
-1 cup of cornmeal
-1 pound of cleaned calamari
-Salt & pepper (to taste)
If not already done, thoroughly wash & clean the calamari. Chop up the squids into rings that are about a half-inch width. In a large bowl, soak the cleaned & cut calamari in buttermilk for an hour or two before frying. Use enough buttermilk so all the pieces are fully covered. If you’d like to soak the calamari for longer in the buttermilk for extra tenderness, simply place the bowl in the fridge and let continue to marinate. Once the fish is done marinating, combine the cup of flower and the cup of cornmeal in another bowl and add salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. In a small batch at a time, dip the pieces of calamari into the mixture and place right into the deep fryer. Fry for about 4 minutes, then take the basket out and let the cooked calamari sit on a paper towel for another 2-3 minutes so the excess oils drain. Repeat with next small batch.
If you’d like to spice things up, you can add sliced hot cherry peppers into the cornmeal & flour and try along with the fish. YUM!
“Almost from Scratch” Pizza
Ingredients: (makes 1 pizza)
-1 pizza dough (white or whole wheat)
-Coarse polenta style corn meal
-Flour to keep dough from sticking
-1 can of San Marzano tomatoes
-Extra virgin olive oil
-1 medium-large ball of fresh Mozzarella
-1 medium clove of garlic
-Salt & pepper (to taste)
-Red pepper flakes (to taste)
-A large round pizza pan with holes (Or a pizza stone)
-Any other desired toppings
Let the dough rise for up to 1 hour before making in a warm, but not HOT area. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Once the dough has risen, kneed & work the dough until ready to roll out. To roll out, either use a rolling pin on a flat, floured surface (also use flour on the rolling pin) or do like Jeff does… and toss it! We prefer our pizza very thin, so work the dough until it’s at your preferred thickness. Prep your pizza pan by coating it with olive oil and using your hand to spread evenly. Then sprinkle the corn meal over the oiled pan so that the whole pan has a light coat of oil and cornmeal. This serves two purposes. First, it keeps the bottom from sticking to the pan. Second, it gives the pizza a nice texture and helps the bottom keep from getting soggy. Lay the dough out on the pan so it’s fully covered. If you have extra dough on the sides, cut if off or as we did last night, work the dough around the edges to give it a thicker crust.
To get the sauce ready, open the can of San Marzano tomatoes and stick your hand right in there and squeeze the very large chunks of tomato. Crush up the tomatoes to your desired chunkiness. We usually don’t cook our sauce first, as we prefer a more fresh taste. If you like a more cooked sauce then you can make a simple marinara with olive oil, garlic and basil. Cook it down and then add to your pie. Use a round ladle to spoon the tomatoes onto the dough, starting in the center. Using the round bottom of the ladle, spread out the tomatoes in a circular motion. This would be the time to add your salt, pepper, and other dried herbs and spices. Next, drizzle some olive oil over the tomatoes and around the whole length of the crust. Use you fingers to spread the oil evenly over the crust. Now take the cornmeal and sprinkle over the crust. Distribute your desired amount of garlic over the pizza.
Now you are ready to start cooking the pizza. Put into the oven towards the bottom and cook until the crust and the bottom of the pizza start to get a little golden. If you use a pan with holes, as I would suggest, it makes seeing the bottom easier for obvious reasons…If it is at that point, take it out and now put on all of your toppings, fresh and/or shredded mozzarella. Continue to cook, rotating between the top rack and bottom rack to help cook the pizza more evenly.
Once the pizza is at your desired level of crispiness, typically only another 3-5 minutes after the first time in the oven, remove your pie from the oven. Let the pizza cool for a couple of minutes before cutting it.
Jeff & Cristina