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Old 12-19-2005, 06:48 PM   #1
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Cooking oil to deep fry fish?

I live in Michigan. There is this local fish fry place in town. The food is awesome. I live a distance away so I don't get into town that much. When I was there last week I asked the guy what type of cooking oil he used. He proceeded to tell me it was this big secret, bla ,bla, bla.....

The only reason I asked was so I could make some fried fish at home and not have to travel far.

But the guy did give me some clues:

-He said he uses a slightly more expensive cooking oil to achieve a unique fried fish taste. (The flavor stays with you for hours.)
-He does NOT use peanut oil
-There are NOT any signs anywhere in the restaurant about using "healthy oil"
-Fry time for 1 pound of fish was about 5-7 minutes

Is it possible he uses a blend of oils, like veggy and olive? Is this available on the internet?
Could he put vinager in his fry oil? Can you deep fry with vinager?
Any ideas in a breading? The breading was more like a chicken breading with the rough texture, not the smooth fish kind you usually see.

thanks!

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Old 12-19-2005, 09:14 PM   #2
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Well, in all my years in the business, I've never heard of a "special" oil for frying fish. Usually, most restaurants get oil that's either a semi-solid frying shortening, or liquid oil. Usually it's soybean oil, or maybe a soy-veggie blend.

I don't recommend using olive oil for frying, as olive oil has a lower smoke point, and can catch fire.

Also, I do NOT recommend adding vinegar of any sort to the frying oil, as vinegar is water-based, and will cause your oil to splatter all over the place. However, you might want to experiment with adding a little bit of vinegar to the egg wash before the final breading. Or, you could drip a little malt vinegar over the fish after it's cooked.

As for breading, there is what we professionals call "Standard Breading Procedures". Step #1 is to dredge in flour. Step #2 is to dredge in egg wash, a mixture of egg, milk/water, all scrambled together. Step #3 is to dredge in the final breading coat, which can be any number of things, from flour, bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, cornmeal, panko, etc.

Many folks do a batter for fish, which is probably the "smooth" coating you're referring to. I happen to like a beer batter, a mix of lots of beer with just enough flour to make a weak batter, and some seasonings. Drake's is a good brand that you should be able to get in any grocery store where you're at. Fry Crisp is another brand; we have lots of that here at home, but haven't used it.

For battering fish, you will want to dredge the fish in flour, then dip into your batter. When you place the fish into the oil, you want to hold it by one end, and slowly dip the battered fish into the hot oil, "waving" the fish back and forth in the oil until the batter starts to coagulate, then drop the fish into the oil. This is so the fish doesn't completely stick to the bottom of the fryer or the fryer basket. You can get splattered with hot oil, so wear long sleeves.

As with all fried foods, you want to serve it as soon as it's done. If you're cooking a large batch, you need a BIG fryer rig. I tend to fry in small batches, and serve as soon as that batch is done. Of course, in my large family, that means that we all don't eat at once, but in shifts. C'est la Vie!
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Old 12-19-2005, 10:32 PM   #3
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There are so many different things you can do to effect the taste of the finished product. Why did you choose to focus on the oil as the difference maker?

Secret oil? He gave you some clues. Could he have been yanking your chain?
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Old 12-19-2005, 10:44 PM   #4
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I didnt focus on the oil, he did. I was just asking what I thought was an innocent question, but instead opened up this can of worms.
He refused to tell me the oil or oils used because according to him, this was the secret that gave his fried fish that unique taste that is his signature.
Yea, it's real good food too. The flavor is unique and stays with you for hours.
I had no idea that it was such a "secret". The guy has been in business over 40 years. He acted like I was trying to put him out of business.

I don't know if he was feeding me a line or what because I thought my question was innocent. Instead of going into this long story and giving me those clues, you think he would have just said veggie oil, or soybean, or canola just to end the discussion.

Now he has me curious........
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Old 12-19-2005, 10:50 PM   #5
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I think he just wants to keep you coming back to his restaurant.
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Old 12-19-2005, 11:27 PM   #6
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It's probably just old oil that he reuses.
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Old 12-20-2005, 12:16 AM   #7
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As the man has been in buisness for 40 years, and he supposedly has a secret oil, I would hazard a guess that it's corn oil. This is a bit pricier than is canola, the moder blended oils, or sunflower oil, due to the fact that it isn't as popular as it once was. Also, canola and sunflower oils are relatively recent newcomers to the available cooking oils. Corn oil has been around forever, even longer than soybean oil. And it was a very popular oil 40 years back.

Also, it isn't a completely neutral oil like canola and sunflower, and so will impart a unique flavor to the fried foods. Give it a shot. This of course is an educated guess based on the info he gave you.

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Old 12-24-2005, 11:53 PM   #8
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My guess would be coconut oil.....I make biodiesel fuel and one of my stops to get oil is a fish market. They use coconut oil. I can tell from the boxes they throw away. HTH
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Old 12-26-2005, 10:26 AM   #9
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Maybe it was that beef-flavored oil McDonalds' was using on their french frys!
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Old 12-26-2005, 02:20 PM   #10
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I finally found the answer today! Here's what it is:

Butcher Boy Heavy-Duty Frying Shortening.
(prepared with meat fats and vegetable oils, BHA, BHT, and citric acid added to improve stability)


Mystery solved !!!!

What do you think ?????
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