Among all pieces of restaurant equipment, fryers may be the most maligned. Labeled as unhealthy and worthless by many, they've been relegated to the bar food and state fair crowd for a very long time.
And to an extent, the accusations and write-offs are understandable. Many restaurants save their most unhealthy and boring foods for the deep fryer, and as tasty as chicken wings can be, they'll never be considered fine dining.
But there are legitimate uses for a fryer as well. While the carnival may have you believing that the only sweet treats coming out of a fryer are deep-fried Oreos or Twinkies, deep frying doesn't always have to mean an unhealthy indulgence.
Keeping the oil fresh, and using low calorie, healthy oils is the first step in creating worthwhile fried deserts. Oils low in fat are available in nearly any heating range, and can be a great way to keep frying healthy. Using healthier batters can also help make a difference to the health-conscious customer.
It is a shame to see such a versatile piece of restaurant equipment be relegated to what amounts to garbage duty, so using the commercial fryer to create worthwhile and appreciated desserts is one way to pull it out of its slump.
Make a healthy dough for deep frying and serve light and fluffy zeppolies with some sweet dipping sauces for those diners with a sweet tooth for Italian doughnuts. For something cooler and more overtly sweet, take a customer favorite flavor of gelatto, dip a scoop or two in a thin layer of batter, then quickly deep fry. The batter will harden while the ice cream stays cool and untouched inside. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and fried bananas or plantains to complete the dish and watch your customers' faces light up in delight.
You can roll dough into thin strands, fry them for a few seconds, and send them out as is, paired with a chocolate sauce for dipping, or quickly fry flavored batter and then soak it in flavored syrup for a Middle Eastern treat that is sure to wow your guests.
There are dozens of desserts, and even more entrees you can accomplish with a deep fryer, and they don't have to be as unhealthy as everyone says. The limits are only what you can imagine, so there's no need to relegate this useful piece of restaurant equipment to boring and never ordered foods.