Frying - The Victorian Way
From 'The Dictionary of Daily Wants' - 1859
FRYING. A very convenient mode of cookery to those who wish to unite
comfort with economy. The fire used for frying should neither be too slack nor too fierce,
but maintain throughout the process a steady and uniform brightness; and, above all, smoke
should be particularly avoided.
The frying fat, be it lard, oil, butter, or dripping, must
not be stale, much less rancid. This fat, on being melted in the pan, must be brought to
boiling point, or nearly so, before the materials to be fried are put in. The proper
degree of heat may be ascertained by putting into the fat a few sprigs of parsley or a
piece of bread, which, if they become crisp without acquiring a black colour, the fat will
be hot enough for frying.
The meat to be fried should be cut into chops or slices of not
more than half or three-quarters of an inch in thickness, and slightly seasoned with salt
and pepper. It is not necessary that the meat should be wholly immersed in the boiling fat;
if it be immersed in part it will be sufficient.
Fish is more difficult to fry than meat,
on account of the softness of the fibre; it consequently requires a greater degree of
attention. Before fish is put into the pan, it should be wiped thoroughly dry; it should
also be brushed over with eggs and crumbs of bread, flour, or any farinaceous substance.
Fish is best fried in oil.
Fritters and sweet things must have either good butter, or
good lard, or good oil. When the butter which is used for frying is clarified, it is not
nearly so apt to burn. A rich brown colour is communicated to any fried substance by
pressing it, when nearly cooked, against the bottom of the pan.
Fat that has fried veal
cutlets, lamb steaks, &c., may be used afterwards for fish, if allowed to settle, and
poured clear from the sediment; but what is used for fish would spoil meat, though it
will answer repeatedly for fish, especially of the same sort, if strained.
served dry are dished on a napkin. When served with gravy, as with cutlets, steaks, &c.,
pour the fat from the pan, and throw in a small slice of butter; stir to this a large
teaspoonful of flour, brown it gently, and pour in by degrees a quarter of a pint of hot
broth or water; shake the pan well round, add pepper, salt, and a little ketchup, or any
other sauce that may be preferred, and pour it over the meat.