commercial fryer

Equipment You Need for a Fish Fry!

Fried_Fish_and_French_FriesEaster is upon us and that means the Lenten season is in full fish fry mode. Fish fries have long been a staple in communities across the Unites States. Luckily, they’re low maintenance affairs that require just a few pieces of equipment – whether you’re doing them in your restaurant or at your church. Here’s what you’ll need for a successful fish fry:

The Fish: You will need a dry whitefish that is easy to coat with a thick batter and stays in one piece once it’s in the fryer. Varieties such as cod, tilapia, and halibut are great choices for a fish fry.

Equipment for Your Fish Fry: If you have access to one, a commercial fryer will work best for your fish fry. Commercial deep fryers are available in a variety of sizes and as gas fryers and electric fryers to meet your kitchen’s needs.

If you are feeding a large crowd and do not have access to a commercial deep fryer, consider a countertop commercial fryer. Countertop fryers are user friendly and efficient while requiring only a fraction of the space of a traditional commercial deep fryer. They’re also great for appetizers!

You might also consider an outdoor fryer. You can easily fry fish, French fries, and more with an outdoor fryer. Look for a model with at least two baskets so you can keep up with large servings. As an added convenience, typically the fryer tank will detach from its stand so you can transport it anywhere.

Finally, you’ll need fry baskets so your fish can be safely lowered into your fryers. Be sure to check the measurements of the basket before purchasing to assure that it will fit in your frying space.

Pro Tip: If you’re going to deep fry, I recommend peanut or canola because they have the ability to get hot enough to give your fish a nice, golden brown crisp without starting to smoke. Corn and soybean are also good oils; however they will break down quickly, especially at the 350ºF to 425ºF temps you need for a good solid crisp on your deep fried fish.

10 Tips for Managing Your Fryer Oil

fryer oil managerI recently read an article by Rob Slattery of Restaurant Hospitality that listed 10 tips for effectively managing oil. The article was informative and concise (yay!) and the sort of thing our readers need to know. Allow me to pass along the pertinent pointers.

Managing fryer oil as an asset is as important as choosing the right commercial fryer, or selecting the correct oil formula. Fryer oil is a critical component of food flavor, and a costly one. How can you ensure you’re managing it correctly? Follow the 10 steps listed below, and you can deter oil degradation, reduce costs and deliver consistently quality food to your customers.

1. Choose decision-makers wisely. Generally, kitchen managers are the best judges of when oil should be discarded. Less-experienced restaurant workers may be tempted to throw away used oil too soon. Automated oil management systems have lockout functionality, which requires a key to dispose and thus can be better controlled.

2. Don’t just count the days. When deciding whether to discard used oil, consider the general quality of food coming out of the fryer, including taste, aroma, color and texture. It’s best to manage oil on a “vat-by-vat” basis, as opposed to revolving around a day of the week or crew convenience.

3. Know your chemistry. Oil expands as it’s heated. So check oil levels in vats on a regular basis and top-off as needed. However, do not overfill the vats.

4. Monitor temperatures. One main enemy of fryer oil is heat. Combined with oxygen in the air, heat accelerates oil breakdown and degrades food flavor. Be sure to turn off unneeded vats and use fire-up and shutdown schedules. It’s also important to check vat temperatures on a regular basis and regularly recalibrate thermostats, if needed.

5. Filter regularly. Filter oil on a daily basis. Never underestimate the importance of filtering cooking oil. One missed day can reduce oil’s fry life significantly and negatively impact food quality.

6. Filter before you throw. Before disposing used oil, filter it. Premature oil disposal can take dollars off the bottom line.

7. Size matters. It’s important to ensure the correct filter paper or pad size is used, as well as guaranteeing the filter box screen and weights hold the paper or pad firmly in place so crumbs are unable to bypass it.

8. Steer clear of water. When placing food into the fryer, never empty frozen products into baskets over vats. The ice that comes in contact with frying oil attacks fat molecules and imparts a smoky flavor. Also ensure the filter box is thoroughly dry before inserting the filter paper or pad.

9. Eliminate soap. Soap used to clean fryers is also an enemy of cooking oil. It can react with oil to degrade food flavor and color and also causes oil to smoke. When cleaning filter boxes do not use degreasers or soap, spray with hot water only.

10. When possible, upgrade your approach. Consider leveraging an automated oil management and filtration tracking solution. This will allow for easy monitoring of oil activity performance and identify problem areas that may be diminishing food quality and consistency and negatively impacting your bottom line.

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