One of the challenges in cooking for a large crowd was keeping fried foods crispy. When frying 60 pounds of fish and serving 300 people all at the same time, timing is critical.
Here are some helpful tips to keep your fried foods crispy and tender.
(Shown here is fried chicken breast)
1. Use the thermometer. Oil temperature is critical. Even when you are an experienced cook, it is hard to gauge the correct temperature. Oil temperature should be at least 350 degrees F for denser meat like chicken and 375 degrees if you are frying fish, french fries, and such.
2. Do not over crowd the fryer. Over crowding lowers the oil temperature too quickly because cooking energy is absorbed into uncooked foods. Frying below recommended temp will cause to lose crispiness.
3. Place fried foods on a wire rack. This way moisture won't be trapped underneath creating steam and making foods soggy. Do not double stack any fried foods either, for the same reason.
If you are serving a large volume of fried foods at the same time, it can be fried up to an hour ahead and kept in room temperature on a wire rack. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and "flash heat" the food for 6-7 minutes. Crispy texture is compromised just a bit, but it will be better than having diners wait.
(Fried Catfish Fillets)