Sunday, October 29, 2006


I've never had a deep-fried Mars bar, but I know I would like it. Because I would like a deep-fried anything, as pretty much all of us would. Tasty, crispy, golden armor just has that magic.

Fried shrimp are a particular favorite around here. I leave deep-frying to the pros (and those who keep buckets of cooking oil laying around the house) and choose to focus on the kind of frying that happens in a quarter inch of peanut oil. I've said it before, but the difference between frying in peanut oil and, say, canola oil is stunning. Peanut oil has a higher smoke point and can cook food hotter and therefore faster, which is the name of the game.

Anyway, I had a leek in the fridge, so I thought I'd try frying it after the shrimp were done. Best idea I've had all week. I sliced the leek lengthwise into very thin strips, and then I dredged the strips in flour and tossed them in the red-hot, full-of-panko-shrapnel pan. For a little while, not much was happening besides a bit of bubbling. But I moved the stuff around with a pair of tongs, and after a minute it began to brown. Seconds after that, it was done, and I had a brittle little tangle of fried leeks that only needed a sprinkle of salt. Margy looked at me like I'd been keeping some terrible yet wonderful secret from her all these years.

Oh, and just for kicks I repeated the process with a thin-sliced jalapeño. Yowza!

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