Are you afraid of deep frying food? I was. When I was a kid, my Mother didn’t fry much. Eggs were poached, potatoes were baked; and on the one or two occasions she made fried chicken, I was banned from the kitchen.
I had this irrational fear of frying. The kitchen could be set on fire. I could suffer 3rd degree burns or worse…
Then I went to a cooking class in San Francisco and I was put in charge of frying the crab cakes. I stepped up and overcame my fear. In that class, I deep fried crab cakes in a large 4-quart pot with a few inches of oil.
I grew so confident, I even bought a deep fryer. The one I bought was made by Wolfgang Puck and it promised to be easy, safe and foolproof.
I took it for a spin at Chanukah Party, to make jam filled, deep fried wontons. This was a serious piece of kitchen equipment and I was a bit nervous, so I enlisted my friend Dano to help. I didn’t know his fear of frying was even greater than mine. We did a test run and he insisted that we have a fire extinguisher on hand.
There was no fire, but there was a huge amount of oil to dispose of. After that Chanukah and the rave reviews for the wontons, I disposed of the deep fryer by donating it to a local church for their kitchen.
So much for a designated deep fat fryer!
I was toying with ideas for bar food, for Game Night, and when I remembered my class in San Francisco and my mastery of deep frying in a regular 4-quart pot with a thermometer. And so this recipe was born.
The secret to making non-greasy fried foods is to use the right type of oil and to be sure the oil is hot enough. If you do this, the food is cooked quickly and very little oil is absorbed.
The easiest way to assure this is to use a deep fat thermometer. Also, you need to use the right type of oil. Select an oil that has a high smoking point. A high smoke point is important because heating oil to the point that it smokes is what makes frying unhealthy. When the oil begins to smoke, it produces toxic fumes and harmful free radicals. We don’t want free radicals, no political pun intended.
I use grape seed oil which has a smoke point of 420 degrees and a neutral flavor. Don’t use extra virgin olive oil which has a smoke point of 320 degrees. You can also use canola oil (smoke point 400 degrees) or peanut oil (smoke point 440 degrees).
The other trick to making this into a dish that no one can resist is to be sure to use Panko breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are a Japanese style breadcrumbs made from crustless bread. The crustless bread is roughly ground into large flakes, which stay crisper longer because they don’t absorb as much oil. This is the other secret to non-greasy fried food. If you use regular breadcrumbs, you won’t get crispy ravioli.
I serve these with a homemade tomato sauce but you can use a store bought marinara sauce or even a chunky blue cheese or ranch salad dressing. I tasted this recipe using giant ravioli from Costco and gourmet ravioli from a fancier store. The Costco ravioli are hands down the best!
Even the next day or as a midnight snack, these are delicious. Someone I know, but I’m not naming names, even scarfed these cold.
Overcome your fear of deep frying with this recipe!
EVENT: Game Night
SERVES: At Least 2 Ravioli per Person if Part of Larger Menu. 3-4 Per Person as First Course.
For the ravioli:
1 lb package large ravioli, refrigerated *
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese *
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
Grape seed oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
2 cups homemade tomato sauce
Clip or deep fry thermometer
Baking sheet (lined with parchment paper is optional)
1. Combine beaten eggs and milk in a bowl.
2. Place the flour on a sheet of wax paper or in a glass pie plate.
3. Combine Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and parsley in a bowl and placed in a sheet of wax paper or pie plate.
4. One at a time, dip the ravioli into the flour, shaking off extra, then into egg mixture, then into Panko breadcrumbs mixture.
5. Place each ravioli on a baking sheet until each is coated with flour, egg, Panko mixture. I coat all the ravioli before I begin frying.
6. Clip thermometer to side of heavy 4-quart sauce pan.
7. Add 3 inches of oil. Heat over medium heat.
8. When the temperature reaches 370 degrees, working in batches, drop 3-4 pieces at a time into oil.
9. Cook, turning at least once until they are golden brown, 2-3 minutes per batch.
10. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli to a plate lined with paper towels if serving immediately. Top with extra Parmesan cheese.
11. You can actually make these several hours ahead. If you do, place them onto a wire rack set into baking sheet and keep warm in a 200-degree oven.
12. Serve topped with extra parsley and homemade tomato sauce on the side.
* A NOTE: I purchase the grated Parmesan cheese, as well as Chicken / Roasted Garlic Large Ravioli in the refrigerated section at Costco.