Deep-Fried Foods – Selection of Deep-Fried Meats and Vegetables Cooking Recipe

Deep-Fried Foods - Selection of Deep-Fried Meats and Vegetables Cooking Recipe

Deep-Fried Foods

Italy has a range of traditional recipes for deep-fried foods, the components varying from one region to another. The use of certain ingredients such as meat, fish, and vegetables remains constant. There are also many recipes for deep-fried bread and pizza, as well as for sweet fritters.

Advice on preparing deep-fried foods

Different frying oils

Use an oil that will not exceed the critical temperature of its smoking point to avoid breaking down the fat molecules (pyrolysis). This phenomenon produces bad odors and transmits an unpleasant taste to foods, generating toxic substances.

Oils rich in polyunsaturated fats, which are unstable and become carcinogenic at high temperature, should therefore be avoided. In some countries, you are strongly advised not to use these oils for frying, especially sunflower oil.

The smoking point is therefore of fundamental importance when choosing a frying oil. It is different for each oil.

Olive oil is the most stable, containing natural antioxidants and only 10 percent polyunsaturated fats. It has a smoking point of 410°F/210°C. However, its flavor can be too pronounced for some foods and it has the disadvantage of being expensive.

The smoking point of sunflower oil is below 266°F/130°C (65 percent polyunsaturated fats); corn oil’s smoking point is320°F/160°C (60 per-cent polyunsaturated fats), and for peanut oil it is 356°F/180°C (30 per-cent polyunsaturated fats). There are also oils called “frying” oils that are processed to remain stable at a high temperature, in particular refined palm oil (464°F/240°C), which is widely used in the restaurant trade, and modified vegetable oil, generally composed of sunflower oil with fractionated vegetable oil added.

Lard is also very stable for frying (500°F/260°C) and therefore widely used(especially for patisserie).

Depending on the products to be fried, olive oil and peanut oil remain the best choice for domestic use. Clarified butter is an alternative.

Advice on more healthful ways of frying

Ideally, for health reasons, the oil in a fryer should be changed every time food is fried, or at least every other time.

Filter the oil after frying to eliminate the debris that might carbonize next time it is used (the oil used to cook fries will keep longer than oil used for frying foods coated in batter).

Keep the oil in a cool, dark place in a sealed container to prevent oxidation. Do not keep longer than 2 to 3 weeks.

To prevent the oil burning, always use in large quantities (at least three times the volume of the foods to be fried) and, once it has reached the desired temperature, do not hold it there for long with nothing cooking in it, just add a piece of bread if necessary. The temperature when frying at home should never exceed 3S0°F/180°C. There are several signs that indicate that frying oil is deteriorating: a dark color, an unpleasant smell and taste, smoking, persistent surface foam, and increased viscosity, all resulting in greasy food that does not drain well.

Temperatures for frying different categories of foods

The smaller the item of food to be fried, the higher the frying temperature needs to be.

Depending on the food, it varies between 280°F/140°C and 350°F/180°C. If the temperature is not high enough, the moisture in the food does not evaporate and the result will not be crisp. To achieve a good, crisp, non-greasy result, cook as few items as possible at the same time. The temperature chosen must remain constant. 350°F/180°C: small pieces of vegetables or fish, precooked foods, shrimp, offal, frozen foods;

320°F/160°C to 340°F/170°C: breaded meat and fish, cakes, vegetables; 300°F/150°C: large portions of chicken or rabbit, whole fish, and all foods that require a longer cooking time.

How to prepare the foods to be fried

The food should be dry and at room temperature before being fried. Avoid adding salt or spices as this can accelerate the deterioration of the oil and affect the adherence of any coating to the food. Once the food is drained, place immediately on paper towel, and do not cover. Serve immediately. You can keep the food that has been fried first in a warm oven with the door left open while you fry the remainder.

What equipment is needed?

An electric fryer is ideal for precise temperature control.
A large pan fitted with a basket also works well. To drain the fried food, it is best to use a slotted spoon that will not retain the oil as a sieve might. In the absence of an electric fryer, you can use an immersion or infrared thermometer.

How to avoid bad smells

Add apple slices, sprigs of fresh parsley, or coriander seeds to the frying oil, and change them regularly. This will diminish the odors.

Frying time

The time different foods take to cook depends on the nature and size of what you are frying. In general the food is ready when it turns a nice golden color and rises to the surface.

Selection of Deep-Fried Meats and Vegetables Cooking Recipe – Fritto Misto di Terra Recipe

A mixed selection of deep-fried meats and vegetables is a traditional Piedmontese dish, prepared with a wide choice of foods “of the earth”: meats, vegetables, and cakes. Similar versions are Bolognese fritto misto, with an even richer selection (cold meats, fruit, acacia flowers, etc.); Roman, with a more limited selection (mainly offal and artichokes); Milanese, based on boiled meats; and Ligurian, mainly composed of vegetables and fish.

Serves 6

  • Preparation time: 1 hour
  • Frying time: 25 minutes
  • Cooling time for the semolina: 1-2 hours


  • 1 2/3 cups (400 ml) milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2/3 cup (6 oz./160 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (3 ½ oz./100 g) fine semolina
  • 1 lb. (500 g) mixed vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, zucchini flowers, mushrooms, artichokes, cabbage, and broccoli)
  • 1 lb. (500 g) assorted meat (veal sweetbreads, brains, veal escalope, calf’s liver, sausages, poultry drumsticks, pork chops and spare ribs, lamb chops, and frogs’ legs)
  • 6 soft amaretti biscuits
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups (8 oz./250 g) fresh bread crumbs
  • Sufficient quantity of olive oil or peanut oil for deep frying
  • Salt

Deep-Fried Foods - Selection of Deep-Fried Meats and Vegetables Cooking Recipe 1

Deep-Fried Foods - Selection of Deep-Fried Meats and Vegetables Cooking Recipe 2

Cooking Method

Prepare the semolina

  • Bring the milk to a boil with the lemon zest and sugar. Pour in the semolina all at once (1), whisking continuously.
  • Cook for a few minutes (2), then pour onto a flat surface or polenta board (3). Let cool, then cut into diamond-shaped lozenges.

Clean and cut up the vegetables.

  • Cut the meat into evenly sized pieces.
  • Dip all the ingredients, including the lozenges of semolina, amaretti biscuits, and pieces of apple into the beaten eggs (4), and then the bread crumbs (5).
  • Fry them in the oil at 330°F/165°C until they are golden brown (8 to 12 minutes for the meat, 3 minutes for vegetables, 2 minutes for the amaretti) (6).
  • Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
  • Serve immediately.

Chef’s note

  • To make a lighter coating, use beaten egg whites instead of whole eggs.