Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Excuse me, could I get some full surface-contact with my halibut?

I recently stumbled upon this interesting article about “the recipe for the most astonishing cookbook of our time,”…or so says the Wall Street Journal.
“Take one multimillionaire computer genius, a team of 36 researchers, chefs and editors and a laboratory specially built for cooking experiments. After nearly four years of obsessive research, assemble 2,400 pages of results into a 47-pound, six-volume collection that costs $625 and requires four pounds of ink to print.”
Apparently this Nathan Myhrvold guy, a former chief technology officer for Microsoft who holds two master’s degrees and a doctorate in mathematical physics, decided that Microsoft was really getting in the way of his cooking, quit his job, and got to work on this book.
Whether this book really is a “game changer” as their touting it, is a mystery to me and is likely to remain that way. I certainly won’t be spending the $625 to find out (er…at least not now).
The Journal article did, however, select a few “counterintuitive nuggets of wisdom” for us poor folks and I picked out one that I thought was really interesting.

Listen, fried food ain’t gon’ be healthy no matter how much you want it to. But if you want to cut down on your cooking oil intake (Just 1 T of olive oil is 119 calories) and get your food a little crispier, check out this helpful suggestion:

PROBLEM: Your pan-fried food comes out soggy and greasy.
SOLUTION: Use more oil.
Before shallow-frying, pour oil into a pan that is equivalent to nearly half the depth of your food. Heat it well and fry the food. When done, drain on a rack and blot excess oil with paper towels. The food will be crisp and less greasy than if you had skimped on the oil.
WHAT'S GOING ON: When food heats, water escaping from the food creates a tiny layer of steam that lifts the food off the bottom of the pan. If there's not enough oil in the pan, the food will not make contact with the oil. That means that instead of frying, it steams, and then merely absorbs the oil, sponge-like, upon contact. With a thick enough layer of oil the food will have full surface-contact with the oil and will fry—and properly fried food does not actually absorb much oil.

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