Flash Frying Herbs and Leafy Greens

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Does everything taste better deep fried? No, but quickly frying herbs and leafy greens gives you a delicious flavor punch.

Do you like fried foods? I have a love-hate relationship with them. Fat carries flavor; oil is fat; and fat does damage to my body. I have worked hard to reduce the amount of unhealthy oils in the family diet, yet there are those traditional dishes that taste better with fat. My wife has become more concerned with fats in the diet, so she chides me when she sees any fat in a dish. Yet I decided to quickly fry herbs for a garnish on a pasta. This flash fry added a punch of flavor that passed my wife’s inspection.

   I harvested my cilantro for the pasta. I knew that chopping it and adding it at the last moment to the sauce would flavor the sauce well. My older daughter, however, is going through a phase of not eating leaves (last week it was anything the color of red). I wanted to find a way to make leaves acceptable. I recalled that she had eaten flash fried basil over a Chinese chicken dish. I thought that I would give it a try. I took a pot, in which I heated my oil. I used olive oil. I was not looking for extremely high heat, or for a deep vat of oil. I had maybe an inch deep of oil in the pot, which was heated to the point of seeing the oil shimmer (those lines moving over the surface of the oil). I patted the cilantro dry. I had my skimmer at the ready. I dropped the leaves into the pot; there was a spray of hot oil, but not too bad. I fairly quickly scooped the leaves out. I set them on a towel to let the excess oil drip off. I had a crunchy treat.
    I have not tried this technique with rosemary. I think those little leaves may burn or have an odd flavor. Maybe not. I did try a few other leafy herbs like marjoram and oregano. Those worked out well. I moved onto leafy vegetables. Collards went well. In fact the tougher leaves of some winter vegetables did well with a flash fry. I cut these leaves into fine strips (a chiffonade). Chard did alright, but I had to be quick like I was with the herbs. The collards and cabbage gave me more time. The key to me was the final step. If the leaves were heavily oily when serving, I found that the family was not too happy.
    These have made appealing garnishes. I piled on the collards over the rice for one meal. I used them to float on top of soups. In fact I prepared these greens a bit too much. At least, I have a method to cook greens for a different presentation.

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This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at yourhoustonhomeinspector.com). For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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