Velvety Fried Seafood: Shrimp, Scallops and Calamari
Deep fried in 60 seconds, velvety marinated shrimp are ready to be admired.
Baked check crumbs for Velvet Experiments: frozen jumbo calamari rings (prime), under-15 jumbo shrimp (backside left) and contemporary sea scallops (backside proper).
Shrimp after 60 seconds in peanut oil at 360°F: sifted pancake combine (prime) and sifted all-purpose flour (backside). The pancake combine was the clear winner for me. Crunchier and extra flavorful, the deep golden brown colour was my favourite.
Popeye’s hen sandwich with out leaving residence. Velvety, fried breast fillets on a roll with sliced dill pickles and Kewpie mayonnaise. I could not eat that quick sufficient. Probably the most tender hen tenders I’ve ever had.
Egg whites and their alkalinity are the important thing to the success of the velveting course of.
I’ve spent the previous month testing a Chinese language seasoning technique known as “velvet,” which has turn out to be a scorching development on on-line cooking boards previously yr. Marinating small items of meat in a combination of cornstarch, egg whites, salt, and typically soy sauce or oil. After marinating the meat, it’s boiled briefly in scorching oil or water earlier than finishing the stir-frying course of. It is primarily used on hen, beef, and pork. Should you’ve ever had candy and bitter pork, kung pao hen, or beef and broccoli, you have in all probability skilled the magic of velvet. The tenderness, taste and silky texture of the fried meat in these dishes is ideal.
Velvet vs. vulcanization
I watched YouTube movies and skim quite a lot of velvet articles and recipes to get the answer to this technique. However, as a graduate of Dee Snyder’s Twisted Sister Cooking College, I could not assist however marvel, what might this method do for the fragile textures and flavors of fried seafood? Was velvet the answer to cease calamari, shrimp and scallops from changing into rubbery? In spite of everything, is not stir-frying only a relative of shallow deep-frying?
Velvet is the other of ceviche?
In contrast to Alton Brown and America’s Check Kitchen, I haven’t got a group of meals scientists on pace dial. I’ve to rely alone data, widespread sense, assessments, the Web, and my awful analysis assistant ChatGPT. I saved pondering again to ceviche, which makes use of lime juice or lemon juice to “cook dinner” the shrimp. It would not really cook dinner the crustaceans, the acid denatures the protein fibers and kills the micro organism, making them suitable for eating with none warmth utilized (form of like pickling). Velveting is meant to be an alkaline course of that raises the pH stage of the seafood. This excessive pH modifications the protein construction in seafood, inflicting the protein fibers to loosen up and turn out to be extra open. This dilution of proteins makes the seafood extra tender by breaking down a number of the connective tissue in muscle fibers. Milk, one of the crucial widespread marinades for fried seafood, is barely acidic (about 6.5 pH) and can’t be utilized in marinade.
My awful analysis assistant, Chat GPT, saved telling me that egg whites aren’t alkaline however have an virtually impartial pH. Huh? That appeared improper, so I checked with the American Egg Council, which states, “Egg whites are one of many few meals merchandise which are naturally alkaline, with an preliminary pH worth that may be as excessive as 7.6 on the time of laying, however growing.” Alkalinity will increase because the egg ages, and might attain a pH of 9.2. After I threw this info again into Chat/GPT, the AI gave me the equal of a shrug. I examined the egg whites I had available with my pH meter and obtained a studying of 8.66. Bingo!
The ultimate marinade for Velvet turned out to be quite simple: egg whites for alkalinity, salt for brine, and a bit cornstarch to stick to the seafood. I attempted utilizing a bit baking soda to extend the alkalinity, nevertheless it left the shrimp and scallops with a soapy style. Right here is the ultimate recipe:
Combine half a cup of egg whites with a teaspoon of salt and a pair of teaspoons of cornstarch. This may be doubled or tripled relying on the quantity of seafood you might be making ready.
Add scallops, shrimp, or calamari and stir collectively till evenly coated. Cowl and refrigerate for 1 to eight hours.
The bulldozer toiled
Okay, so now I’ve obtained a velvety marinade and I am fairly positive it’s going to protect unfastened seafood in a deep fryer, but when I haven’t got a crunchy batter that can brown like a HoJo’s clam dish in about 60 seconds, it would not make any sense. to try this.
Which suggests there isn’t any liquid combination. It might take longer to rework the combination from moist to crispy within the pan, which may trigger the seafood to turn out to be dry and dry. Speak about a balancing act. So the dredge flour combination should be dry. Preliminary assessments on a combination of flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt had been barely golden, like tempura (not my favourite, too pale).
I arrived on the restaurant’s commerce secret: pancake combine. I had Krusteaz Gentle and Fluffy Buttermilk Pancake combine available right here at residence. Accommodates flour, sugar (for browning), meals starch (for extra browning), baking soda (for crunch), buttermilk powder (for tanning and browning) and dried egg whites. After a number of assessments, I concluded the next:
2 cups pancake combine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 floor black pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon seasoning powder (Outdated Bay, ranch powder, Cajun seasoning, and so forth.)
Combine the dry elements collectively in a large bowl. Take away the seafood items from the marinade and place them within the dredging combination. Cowl it fully with the shovel and depart it for 5 minutes. The salt from the bucket will pull a bit moisture out of the seafood and permit extra of the dry combination to stick to the shrimp/calamari/scallops. Choose seafood from bucket and place on rack whilst you warmth 3 inches of peanut oil in a pot/Dutch oven/deep fryer to 360°F.
Drop the seafood into the recent oil in batches, sufficient in order that the oil doesn’t drop beneath 340°F. Cooking occasions to inside temperature of 150°F: Calamari/Cocktail Shrimp Rings – 60 seconds; Giant prawns below 15 and sea scallops – 90 seconds. Timing and temperature are key right here; Set a timer and use a thermometer. Seafood is simply too costly to mess with. You already know what I imply?
Drain on a rack or paper towels, however there will not be quite a lot of extra oil. Serve with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, ketchup, scorching sauce or simply plain lemon wedges.
No must honk, however…it labored effectively. The big shrimp had been really crunchy and juicy. And the scallops, oh my goodness. To see the milky juices of contemporary sea scallops seep into the deep golden crust…that is what I am speaking about. The calamari wasn’t as much as Tony D’s greatness, however give me time.
Wealthy Swanson is an area chef with many victories in state-sponsored recipe contests. He is additionally the planning specialist right here at The Day.
feedback? Questions? Recommendations? Wealthy Swanson may be reached at TheSurlyTable@gmail.com
Bonus on-line content material for subscribers: Egg Whites, Rooster Tenders, Langostino Nuggets, and the Elusive Good Calamari
I’ve postpone velveting for a very long time for an actual motive: I hate separating eggs. I have not been making many recipes that use solely egg whites, and I detest the thought of an egg white omelet. However in an odd twist of karma, the massive demand for egg whites for egg white omelettes makes pints and quarts of them available at your native grocery retailer. I didn’t break a single egg in the entire velvet assessments.
On-line readers, scroll via the images on the prime of this text till you come to a photograph of this lovely Popeye’s hen sandwich. That was a sidebar to check all of the seafood. The cutlets are retailer purchased and are about 1/2 inch thick. I marinated them for a full 24 hours within the velvety marinade you see within the textual content of this text after which scooped them up, then dipped them again within the marinade after which scooped them once more. Fry them at 360°F till the crust is golden. About 2 minutes. I do not know if it may be credited to the lengthy alkaline velvet marinade, however this was essentially the most tender, juicy and flavorful hen I’ve ever had. Even the thin “tail” was very juicy, and that is often the primary half to be overcooked. Very stunning. I will do extra testing on that, for positive.
I didn’t embody in my assessments the Langostino Lobster Chunks (2 lb bag, cooked and frozen – $29.99 at Costco) as a result of they had been already cooked. However after dipping them within the velvety marinade and drying them the identical means, they had been excellent. Additionally, regardless that the frozen calamari rings had been good, I nonetheless had two rubber bands within the batch. Will replace after I use contemporary calamari. Preserve it greasy!