Menu Inspiration

Fuel Up the Fryers

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Fried foods predominate on menus. Inspired ingredients/techniques enliven the category and can even serve keto, paleo, plant-forward or gluten-free diets.

Below are just a few of the many ways to upgrade classic fried favorites.

NEW FRYS

Breadings. Think beyond wheat flour and cornmeal. Almond, cassava, coconut, kamut and heirloom flours. Ground nuts or pork rinds. Crushed cereals and Cheetos.

Batter up! Tempura. Gluten-free, probiotic-rich kombucha. Local microbrew beer. Pickle brine. Juice.

Fats. Umami-rich animal fats – like bacon, duck, goose and beef. Ghee (vegetarian).

Oils. Sunflower. Avocado. Coconut. Peanut. High oleic.

Techniques. Double-frying. Shallow-pan frying. Sichuan dry-frying (slow-fry meat/veggies in oil to dry out the exterior, concentrate flavor; then stir-fry with flavorful ingredients that get reabsorbed into the dry surface).

FRIED FAVORITES

American regional. Nashville hot chicken. Hush puppies. Chicken-fried steak. Deep-fried shrimp and grits. Pan-fried, breaded oysters.

Shareables. Buffalo cauliflower. Chicharrón-crusted fried avocado wedges. Fried-chicken chips. Crispy beef-jerky strips. Arancini. Croquettes.

Global fried foods. Katsu Sandos (Japanese sandwiches with breaded, fried pork, chicken or shrimp). Milanesas. Schnitzel. Korean fried chicken. Fried rice.

Veggies. Flash-fried cauliflower. Deep-fried pickles, zucchini or green beans.

Loaded French fries. More than 60 percent of diners want these (Datassential, 2018). Try: New England clam chowder and bacon. Butter chicken. Kimchi. Duck confit.

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