Frying Methods

In my own experience, one of the first few things I learned to cook when I was young and still at my parent's home and not away at boarding school was to fry an egg. This is still one of my favourites way to have an egg. First, it is fast and simple, which is the beauty of frying as a cooking technique.

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Duck Eggs. They are rich with an onctuous big yolk centre.

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Fried Duck Eggs with nicely rendered Halloumi Cheese.

First, you need a little fat in a cooking dish, usually a frying pan but you have so many cooking utensils nowadays that I can think of plenty but to give another example I will cite the wok for stir-frying. But I will get back to this later,  as in my humble opinion Stir Frying deserves its own independent cooking section.

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Pork Stir Fry.

To go back to frying an egg, there is something for me almost magical just to see how fast the egg is ready to eat when it is encircled by that ray of sunshine that is the little  golden crispyness forming. If I go back to my student days when you have to catter for yourself and Mum is no longer around everyday to do the graft, the humble frying egg is singing to you: 'Good Morning Starshine!', the world says hello, from down below... Well, I hope you all know Hair (apart in your food), that classic cult film of the Flower Power era...

Hair - Good Morning Starshine

Speaking of era, the history of frying is said to go back to the ancient Egyptians... One can imagine or assume one thing, building pyramids and temples is not done in a day, that workers or slaves at that time didn't have much time allowed to have something to eat. Then as cooking in fat made things go faster, less time around the fire and back into work... frying was created. Living around the Nile river, fish such as Nile Perch, the Bolti, different sorts of Catfish, the Barbel could have been perfect for such methods of cooking as frying, substantial yet fast to cook and eat. Who said that time was of the essence?

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 Fish Frying is one very satisfying method to cook. You can adapt it to your taste, like pané your Fish fillet before it hits the frying pan.

So frying makes it faster to eat, unlike roasting. But you need the fat element, an essential part of this cooking method, to make it so. There are lots of schools of thoughts around fat. Some y it is not good for you, some say it is fuel for the body, and some say it imparts flavours. For all the 'some says', my humble saying is everything can be valuable in moderation.


Butter, Salted or Unsalted is your choice.  Now, shop bought, farm bought or home made are another Trio of choices. Think of the three wishes Aladin had to do to the Blue Genie of the lamp... (Sorry Peeps, I grew up watching Disney, but I also read the Thousand Nights...)

However coming from Normandy, I do appreciate my butter, but a drop of oil within it will stop it burning in the pan and allow you to baste what you are cooking with it and to give more flavours: Tip number one. It is the magical butter song that will not burn but enhance your food:

Friend like me - Robin Williams [Genie of the Lamp SCENE ] /// Aladdin (1992)

As for butter I am very cautious to how the cows, or goats were raised in order to produce it. I have memories of the Moo-Moos of Normandy grazing upon green pastures under flowering apple trees. It makes me smile, so yes I do like Normandy butter then the one coming from Jersey, the Anglo-Normande Island next. But I also do like salted butter when it comes for savoury dishes. 


 Normandy Cows

Let us admit it, if salt can be good for you in some instances, it also can be bad for you in excess. I will return to that subject in a different section about Salt. But if you use a salted butter to fry, you do not have to salt or oversalt the dish afterwards because the taste is already there. You do get the flavour but less of the badness in my opinion if you restrain your hands to reach for more salt at the table. It is a question of balance: Too much or too less. What do you prefer? My good aunt once said to me rightly when I was about 6:'You can put more salt on your fries yes, if you want, but you will not be able to take it away'. I ended up with French fries which were not edible. Lesson learnt about moderation.

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Baby potatoes from the garden.

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French Fries. The whole world over, lets just say it is a winner of a fried side dish.

To go back to fat ingredients to allow you to fry something, I will advise the same thing: Moderation. I know I will sound like my old aunt. However I will add that when your meal becomes too greasy, it is a little bit on the unhealthy side and your arteries will have to work hard to take it away. I know because I suffer from a genetic condition called FH, so caution is the rule.  We could flag a banner there: P P P= Prevention, Protection for your Pulse.

As a rule of thumb, I have not the science infuse into me about the world of fat to use for frying, however I can say that you have unsaturated fat and others which are not as healthy. Vegetable oils are the healthiest if I did read everything correctly: Olive oil, Corn oil, Sunflower oil, Canola oil, and I would add Avocado oil.

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Avocado Oil.

I do like to use Ghee when cooking inspired Asian dishes, and Soy oil for Eastern ones. Also toasted Sesame oil does have me in rapture but not so much as frying as for finishing a good Stir Fry, the last drizzle, the finishing touch.

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Toasted Sesame Oil.

I must mention Canola or also known as Rapeseed oil. If I may swear, Lord, do I love to see those fields of yellow flowers! If I want to fry something without giving it an overwhelming taste this is my oil of choice. It allows you to have the pure taste of the main ingredient you are frying which is almost all I can say.

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Rapeseed flowers from our London Garden feeding Bumblebees.

For addressing the fishy or meat fat, I tend to use them rarely therefore I will say in a rather childish way: Fish oil, makes me think of Cod Liver oil, Mary Poppins and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Therefore a medecine a little weird that will make everything go better in your body. And this one I do not use for frying but just when I have a cold or a flu.

Bang Bang Will-I-Am

For meat fat, well, in the festive seasons, I do use Duck or Goose fat but in my own admission it is mainly for roasting spuds rather than frying. However I did use Duck fat to baste and cook duck legs, and frying them so the skin of the meat was crisp and the inside tender.

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Tropical Fried Duck with a nice crispy skin.

 This brings me to another benefit of frying apart that it can make cooking fast and tasty depending on the type of fat you are using which is the crispy aspect it can give. Again here time is the essence but also your own taste. It is like the famous question about steaks if you want them rare, medium, medium well or well done. Your palate decides your choice but also your tastes do change through time. Say it is trial, experiences, you tried new things and happened to like them now which you would not have considered in the past and so on. I went from medium rendered steak to rare, skipping medium rare because of a mistake of the waiter taking my order. I did enjoy the rare steak and the mistake. For every mistake you should learn something... (Family's wisdom)

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Nicely fried Chips and over fried Steaks.

So if fast is a given with frying, another gift is to render the outside just as you like it. Your eyes can tell you when this is cooked how you wanted it to be, tender or crispier. The sense of smell as well, not joking... the whoop! I think this is burning. Practice makes better... 

You can almost fry anything under the sky. You have to rely on your ability to be sharp when you do so. Flip and turn regurlaly, keep an eye for a few minutes and Bang Bang you have a meal, my Baby is done to enjoy. I will remind you to be cautious when using fat, please try to control the heat to not burn yourself. Fast is good but you do not want to burn your fingers, trust me. Claiming to have Abestos fingers can be a brave brag, but my father passed away due to Abestos poisoning. Just stay safe when you are frying. Fat can spat at you so you need to keep a good eye on the level of heat you put underneath it. However it is a good way to have a meal to do the deal, fast, forward and seal.

My recommendations good or bad are those, I do enjoy fried Fish, but this is my own taste. Since I had problems with simple swallowing, Fish has been a go to in order to have some proteins in my body. The method of frying is simple and fast enough. You don't have to stand for too long in front of a frying pan when your body hurts but when you know that you need to feed yourself. 

Sometimes I will say I am eating baby food because it is all I can do and manage during that day, just like the good old Fish Fingers,

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Fish Fingers on a bed of Bistro Salad.

But I will say even if you do have to resort to a Fish Fingers way to feed yourself, make it special. It doesn't have to be boring looking. Just Vamp it up a little: A Salad, potato Croquettes, something fast and easy to munch and eat.

There are plenty of fish in the sea... which is just a saying to make you feel better. I do love a fillet of Fish as I said. A nice little Sea Bass makes an evening special, fried a little. 

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Jazzing up the Sea Bass fillets. If you aim for a tender skin fry not too long.

Now there is plenty of ways to go about it. Some people do not appreciate the skin of a fish until it is crucified in the frying pan alter or not there whatsoever. One good flip of the coin exists when you do fry. It is head or tail. I will confess one thing, unlike most, if I keep the skin of a Fish I render it last. The flesh is tender therefore needs to cook under gentle heat, so first. When the oil is hot enough then flip the Fish to render the skin and to protect the flesh. This is my way.

I did it My Way. (Robbie Williams Version)


Frying Veg
About Frying Vegetables.
Frying Fish
About Frying Fish
Frying Meat
About Frying Meat.
Frying Eggs, Breads and Dairy Products
About Frying Eggs, Breads and Dairy Products

Dare I say that one of the first things I did learn to cook was a Fried Egg. My ones are always sunny side up. I also like them a little crispy around the edges to know that the white has been rendered properly. But the Eggs still need to have that exquisite runny yellow yolk at the centre to run free upon the plate. It is a little magical moment of bliss: A little like singing along to the song "My favourite things" from the Sound of Music Film with Julie Andrews.


The Breakfast Fry Up with fried Bread, Bacon and Eggs. It is simple yet fulfilling. It is the fuel to start the day or at least one's day. An Egg takes roughly four to five minutes to fry depending on its size, sometimes more, sometimes less.

There is one thing I will confess, which is, to like a Fried Egg with rough edges. When they are done within a ring or device so they do look neat, I think it kills the charm of the good old Egg coming from a proper Farm, from a Farm where the Chicken are roaming outdoors. My Grand Parents (RIP) lived most of their lives in Bourg en Bresse and there in the Bresse area of France the Chicken graze the grass, the green green grass, and you can taste the difference with the Chicken from a battery Chicken and from a Farm Egg from a battery Egg.


A Poulet de Bresse, de Bourg en Bresse, happy roaming in a field of clovers.

There are a variety of Eggs to be pan fried but being rather conventional I tend to stay in the realm of Chicken Eggs. However I venture very often in the kingdom of the rich Duck Egg with that bountiful dark yellow Yolk. If I do poach a Duck Egg more than I do fry it, I am still doing it often for the ratio between the white and the yolk. There is less white in a Duck Egg. The star there is truly and simply the luscious Yolk. A Duck Egg is full of proteins and different vitamins which is a plus. 


 Duck Eggs are of course larger than Hen's Eggs. 

If Duck Eggs may be harder to get because they are not the normal standard Egg, they are still worth the while to have and eat. The Fried Duck Egg add a touch of luxury upon an Easter Breakfast of Grilled Asparagus, and Shaved Truffles. Garnish with a little Chives, Black Pepper and Sea Salt as a finish then now we are talking simply of very simple lush Brunch.


Pan Fried Duck Egg upon Chips served with a good dollop of Lemon Mayonnaise, seasonned and garnished with chopped Parsley. This is a satisfying simple Lunch.

However I tried my hand to cook Quail Eggs as well. Sometimes it was successful and sometimes it was not. Is it that they are too small for my clumsy fingers...? Or is it that the matter of time is seriously reduced when cooking them? Hence you do need to keep an eye upon the clock and upon the Egg. This is a balancing act which one might crack: May it be the Quail Egg or you with a smile upon your face? But Fried Quail Eggs are quaint and definitely suitable to create Canapés and Appetizers.


Home Made Crostinis with Fried Quail Eggs topped with red Herrring Roe. It is simple and a rustic Canapé to be enjoyed.

They are plenty of ways to taste Fried Quail Eggs. I would say they are dainty but nice; that it is a taste the difference matter. Fried Quail Eggs can make a Bruschetta sing a little bit more for a nice Brunch or even Starter for Dinner time. With very little imagination, you can cover your Olive Oil oven toasted slice of Bread (Sourdough, Ciabatta or Baguette), with a Cream Cheese which is seasoned with added Ingredients of your choice (Chilli Flakes or a little pinch of Cayenne Pepper or a little Chive, or a little Dill, or a little shredded Basil, or a little chopped and roasted Garlic). On top of the whisked Cream Cheese, you can build a layer with a cured or smoked Ham (Prosciutto, Serrano, Parma Ham...even Bacon rashers). But you can also use Fish freshly cooked, smoked or cured. Then add your fried Quail Egg on top. This is an all so simple treat.


 Mini Pesto Pizza with mini Mozzarella Balls, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Fried Quail Eggs. It can make a nice Starter to an Italian theme Dinner.

Now there is something with most of Eggs you can do to fry them: It is the Scotch Egg. The recipe dates from a long time ago the 1800 plus so has evolved to be ever so different. The principle of it reside, in covering an Egg with Minced Meat then to bread the result in order to Fry it. Initially it was called the scortch Egg because it was fried but enclosed. However it became the Scotch Egg in the end. The history says that it was because Scotland was a big producer of Eggs. 


Scotch Eggs can be very dry but to have a runny yolk centre is part of the pleasure with them.

They can make a good Brunch or Lunch. Scotch Eggs are not as per say fanciful however you have a room to play there in term of cookery. Which Egg you are going to use? A Hen Egg, a large Duck Egg or a small Quail Egg...?

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Quail Scotch Eggs Salad. You can do it with Lambs Lettuce or Pea Shoots. Serve it with or without Pancetta or Lardons.  Decorate the plate with edible Flowers like Viola. A simple French dressing can accompany everything even some chopped woodland Mushrooms to give the feel of Autumn to the plate.

Then with which minced Meat you are going to wrap your Egg? A spiced Mince most certainly, it could be Sausage Meat, Lamb Mince, Beef Mince, Turkey Mince but it can also be from a Fish as well like a Smoked Salmon or Trout.

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Salmon Mousse Scotch Quail Eggs served with pickled Radishes, Lamb Lettuce and Tartare Sauce.

It can be with Black Pudding, or the stuffing for Haggis... There you have the tools to make your Scotch Egg special. Seasoning the Breadcrumbs also does play a part in the entire making of a Scotch Egg. The result of your combinations usually makes a satisfying Lunch or Starter.

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 Black Pudding Scotch Eggs on a bed of peppery Rocket Salad dressed with a grain Mustard Vinaigrette: A Lunch that is packing a punch on a plate.

Speaking of Eggs there is of course the Eggy Bread. It is also called French Toast, French Fried Bread, Pain Perdu, Gypsy Bread. The concept comes from an old tradition to not loose Bread at any cost. Even if the Bread becomes old and stale, you can revive it with a source of life which is the Egg and another Ingredient which nurtures life which is Milk. Hence the Eggy Bread was born. Then it can become a Dish in itself or a base for either Savoury Dishes or Sweet Ones.


Eggy Bread Toasts. The principle relies on mixing Eggs and Milk together in order to revive the Bread. Soaking the Bread, usually overnight (in the old days) then Frying it made it all better.

You can turn the Eggy Bread savoury for a full Brunch experience, like with a Croque Monsieur with Ham and Cheese or a Croque Madame with the addition of the Fried Egg. The Croque Monsieur is in effect a Sandwich but a Fried one. It is a bang bang two slices of fried Bread, enclosing a decent slice of Ham and a Cheese with quality of the like of Gruyére or Emmental or Comté Cheese. A Mustard Sauce is usually applied to perk up everything. It could be Dijon Mustard whisked up with a little Mayo. But the result is licking fingers delish... The history of the Croque Monsieur dates from the 1800's. 

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The Croque Monsieur in all its glorious lushness. Before becoming a Bistro or Gastro Pub Treat, it was seen, regarded as a Gentleman's Club Treat.

From the Croque Monsieur to the Croque Madame there are only a few differences. The main one is the addition of the fried Egg on the Croque Madame. The Egg is meant to represent a Lady's wide brimmed hat. Another difference is that the Sauce Béchamel which can be used for the Croque Monsieur can be élévated to the Sauce Mornay for the Croque Madame. The little stamp is the inclusion of Cheese within the Sauce. The Sauce was créated by Philippe de Mornay who also créated the Sauce Béchamel back in the 1500's.

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 Croque Madame. Croque in French means to actually bite into something that has a crunch: Hence Fried Eggy Bread with a difference. 

Then you do have the Croque Mademoiselle: it is an evolution or a variation as per say of the original Croque Monsieur juste like the Croque Madame is a variation as well. This time the main difference is the inclusion of Vegetables within the 'Croque'. It can be totally vegetarian or a bit of a mix. It could be made with the essential Eggy Bread slices but also with sandwiched in between Asparagus, Parma Ham and Parmesan. It could be made with fried Courgettes, melted Mozzarella, Oregano and Espelette Chilli. It is up to the inspiration of the moment. The Croque Mademoiselle is a volatile fried Sandwich. To be blunt it is up to anyone's interpretation apart that it does need to contain a green Veg: Cucumber, Zucchini, Asparagus... For it is the Veg option out of all the Croques.

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Croque Mademoiselle with layers of fried Aubergines, Courgettes, roasted Red Sweet Bell Pepped, Cottage Cheese served with a fried Egg on top just like a Croque Madame. It had a Med Feel to it.

French Toast are not all savoury for some are sweet as well. Different combinations are there to be appreciated. A favourite one is served with fresh Berries: Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries... but also with a Jam or Preserve or Compote which could be made with Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Blueberries and the Eggy Bread will be accompanied with Custard. It is a yummy number.

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Eggy Bread with Berries. It can be a small tea time treat but it is still special. Another version is made with dried Apricot and fresh ones, (It could be done with Nectarines and Peaches too). The addition of Apricot Jam traditionally done with Almond kernels renders everything lush. Toasted Almonds can add to the decoration in that case.

Similarly Bruschetta is a toasted slice of Bread usually it will be made with Pain de Campagne, Sourdough Bread, Ciabatta or Baguette as a base. The slice will be rubed with Garlic but also dipped in Olive Oil. Then it can be fried within a frying Pan or grilled. The toppings of the Bruschetta are up to you. The traditional ones are with chopped Tomatoes. But additional Ingredients can be added like Basil and, or Organo for Herbs, Capers and, or Olives for a little saltiness, even Anchovies could be considered. Chopped Preseved Lemon could be considered as well. Another combination is the chopped Tomatoes, chopped roasted Sweet Bell Peppers, crispy Shallots with the addition of Mozzarella Pearls or even a little slice or cubed Goat Cheese. 


Tomato and Sweet Red Bell Pepper Bruschetta with Basil and a little grated Parmesan. It can be a simple Brunch, an Appetizer or a Starter/Entrée. The addition of Kalamata Olives, or Olives stuffed with Anchovies can bring this Bruschetta to another level.

Concerning Dough you do have plenty which we do Fry which are sweet. During my childhood one of my favourites treats were the Croustillons. They came by 6, the dozen or 24. It was just little balls of Dough fried then sugared. They were ever so nice. We could have them and share between us three kids only on the Thursday and Saturday at the Market in Cherbourg. I can tell you that we were looking out for that Van and the Croustillons. They are from Northern Europe especially the coastal areas, from Holland, Belgium and France. 


Croustillons are like mini Donuts.

Then there is of course the Doughnut also spelled Donut. It feels like Homer Simpson dreaming of Donuts. I must confess to be partial to Sugared Ring Doughnuts. Although I am not a sweet tooth Fried Dough does it for me. For Tyn he loves his Jam Doughnuts. The matter of fact is that Doughnuts are versatile as per say as you can top them up the way you want to but also fill them up the way you like.


Sugared Ring Doughnuts. One Treat I can't escape from.

In France, a similar Fried Dough is called Beignet. They come in different shapes filled up or not. A Popular one is the Apple Beignet: Le Beignet aux Pommes. My Mum used to do them usually on the Saturday afternoon. It was a treat especially since Oil was expensive, it was important to do the most of it. Hence Fritters (Beignets) were the way to go. Beignets (Fritters) are dipped in French culture and the Italian one but also in the USA, from Louisiana (which was colonised by the French back in the days). It goes with the flow. 

The fillings for Beignets or Fritters are rather varied. Apple is a very popular one coming from areas in France who produces a lot of Apples like Normandy. Pineapple Fritters have their origins from Asian countries like Indonesia (Indochina). French colonists can be blamed for it as well. Then in the Créole Cuisine there are the Banana or, and Plantain Beignets/Fritters.