If food is fried correctly, then it will be golden and crunchy, never soaked in oil. This is due to the fact that when it is submerged into boiling olive oil, the outside surface forms a crust that prevents more oil from entering and which also conserves all the nutritious properties of the food. In fact even if the oil is extremely hot the inside remains at a constant 100C as long as all the water does not evaporate. This makes the food juicy.
On the other hand as the amount of oil absorbed decreases, food fried this way contains fewer calories than food cooked with other fats.
Extra virgin olive oil plays an essential role in frying. You cannot reach a temperature of 200 C and at the same time conserve all its physical and nutritional properties with any other oil, including seed oils. The reason lies in its high content of natural antioxidants and oleic acid.
So how do we do the frying? The food should be submerged in extra virgin olive oil so that the crust protecting it forms evenly all over.
Make sure that the food is a room temperature and dry before adding it to the oil. Coating the food in flour and breadcrumbs just before frying it will make it even drier. This is a good solution for vegetables and fish. Be careful not to put large pieces into the pan. Instead add the food little by little so that the oil temperature does not drop sharply.
Now we have to control the temperature. A moderate temperature of 140 degrees is suitable for food with a lot of water or which has to be cooked more slowly. You will know when this temperature has been reached when you put a bit of bread into the pan and bubbles form.
The 170 degree barrier is the limit for food that has been covered in breadcrumbs or flour, such as croquettes, as a first blast of heat is needed. When you put a bit of bread into it now, you should hear a high-pitched sound, a whistle. If the sound is low you should wait a little longer.
Lastly high temperatures with a maximum of 190 degrees are used for small pieces that have to be taken out quickly. At this temperature the oil starts to smoke and gives off a fried smell.
When the food has finished cooking do not forget to drain it well. The rest of the oil stays in the pan and can be kept after filtering. You have to replace the oil when it smells bad, the colour has darkened or there is too much smoke on heating it.
But if you have fried food that has darkened the oil a lot and you want to remedy it, fry a small sprig of parsley or a lettuce leaf in it after filtering.