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A perfectly fried food features a crispy, crunchy, yet delicately light coating. It is never soggy. It is never heavy. It is even good when it is a cold leftover. It begs you to eat more. It is possible?

Yes.

Battering up foods for the deep-fryer usually follow certain pattern. A wet batter of flour, egg, and something with bubbles (beer or club soda). Or, a dry-wet-dry batter of flour, then egg, then crunchy breadcrumbs. A variation on batter is Japanese tempura, which replaces flour with cornstarch to achieve extra crunchiness. I’ve tried them all and they are all okay, but still they taste heavy and soggy unless consumed within 30 seconds of frying.

Then I remembered the fried oysters. I’ve fried oysters for years this way, but it has always been my “fried oyster batter.” Why not use it on other foods? Success! I’ve been battering up everything from baby artichokes to zucchini blossoms. It’s not a better batter; it’s the best batter.

How to Fry Food

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 cup flour seasoned with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying

Whisk together the egg and baking powder. Toss with a cup or two of shellfish, fish, fresh vegetables, or anything else you would like to deep-fry. Lift each piece of food out of the batter and then roll in flour. Then place in hot oil (heated to 350 degrees) and cook until golden. Drain and season with salt.