My new favorite kitchen appliance is called an air fryer. My mother bought one for Christmas, and I really did not have any experience with an air fryer it or the concept. I learned that this countertop appliance “fries” food with a small amount of oil and circulated hot air. The hot air is produced by a halogen lamp or heating element and is rapidly circulated by a fan, ultimately leaving the food crispy as if it were fried. The air fryer has been around since 2010, but recently gained recent popularity as it has the advantages of making food with the appearance and taste (well, sort of) of fried food without the comparable fat content of deep fried food. Nevertheless, the results that I have enjoyed have been impressive and delicious.
There are several other advantages to this cooking process, as well. Food is quickly “fried” with up to 70% less oil than a deep fryer. The air fryer uses less electricity than a deep fryer and does not leave an odor in the kitchen. Clean up is generally quick. There is a pull out drawer that can be is easily washable. Many foods can be prepared in this machine. The price point is reasonable for this unit with a variety range of brands and entry points, ranging from approximately $65.00 to upwards of $200.00 plus. Phillips is the pioneer in the market. I have a rather simple machine, and it works great.
The first food I made was brussel sprouts. They came out crispy on the outside, and tender on the inside. They were so easy to make and really delicious. I made about two dozen brussel sprout with about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. And so I made them again, and again and again. They rivaled some of the best crispy brussel sprouts that I have ever had. I made them whole, halved and quartered; they were all great. My kids eventually said, “Enough with the brussel sprouts, Mom.” So I put the machine away for a bit.
I brought it out later to make cauliflower. Again, a hit. I read about all the foods that could be prepared with my new air fryer: meat, vegetables, mushrooms, cheese, etc. Its almost as versatile as a microwave, convection oven or toaster oven. The concept is rather simple, but yet impressive in the quality of taste, ease of preparation and cleanup.
So the other night my daughter and I became adventurous. We decided to really test this thing and make fried pickles, a simple indulgence that I love to order when I go out to a restaurant. And the results were pretty amazing. I am just starting to look at what we can do with our air fryer: cook vegetables, pastries, meat and chicken. I highly recommend considering purchasing a unit. I put it up there with my favorite kitchen gadgets: my hand blender, crock-pot, Ninja and Sabatier chef’s knife.