Cook Deep Fryer and Cook Candied Maple Broccoli

I don’t clean my deep fryer very well. I’ll clean out the basket if it gets really dirty, but I usually dry it off with a paper towel or just cook today’s food in yesterday’s fat. It’s disgusting, but it is this sloppiness that often leads to innovation.

That was when I went to air-fry (aka air-fry) broccoli after I cooked the candied bacon . The fryer basket was covered with a not very thin film of greasy bacon with hardened balls of maple syrup on the floor and walls. I added broccoli (with a little salt and monosodium glutamate) to a dirty basket, shaken when warm, and then left to simmer for about 10 minutes at 400 ℉.

It was one of the best broccoli I have ever eaten. It was salty, sweet, savory, full-bodied and slightly burnt, and I chased this vegetable-induced high for weeks. I tried to recreate this experience by sprinkling some syrup on my next batch of broccoli before it enters the deep fryer, but the runny syrup was giving off too much water and the broccoli did not brown (and the browned, almost burnt nuggets make up half a point of air-fried broccoli).

Then I tried reducing the amount of syrup to a thicker one and drizzling it over the cooked broccoli, and it worked really well if I was timing right. Broccoli and syrup should run out at the same time – the syrup solidifies into balls when drizzled with anything other than hot broccoli.

In the end, I decided to take an example from my initial messy experience. I reduced the amount of syrup in half – until it was thick and hardened immediately after touching a cool surface – then beat some bacon fat and toss the broccoli into this savory-sweet mixture. It all went to the deep fryer and it came out great.

Can this be cooked in a conventional oven? Yes, but I love the deep fryer here because you can toss the maple fat broccoli directly into the basket, not the bowl. (Throwing it in a cold mixing bowl causes the syrup mixture to harden and stick to the bowl, which I don’t want to!) Also, shaking the broccoli in the basket is a little easier than stirring it with a spoon in a hot oven, and I it’s all about ease.

To make maple bacon broccoli, you will need:

  • Broccoli inflorescences for 2 small heads (about 10 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat (or other fat if you don’t want to eat meat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • MSG

Wash and cut the broccoli into florets and place them in the fryer basket. Add the maple syrup to a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it halve, stirring constantly. When you have about 2 tablespoons of the very sticky thick syrup, remove from heat, pour out a tablespoon of syrup (you will have 1 tablespoon left) and add the bacon fat.

Drizzle the fat and syrup mixture over the raw broccoli, shaking the basket to coat the buds. Season with salt and about 6 shake MSG from your MSG shaker. Cook in a 400 degree deep fat fryer for 7-10 minutes, shaking the basket every 3 minutes or so, until the broccoli is browned around the edges. (If you have a very small fryer, you may need to do this in batches.) Try and season with more salt or MSG, if necessary, and eat.

Updated on 10/20/21 6:30 PM ET to adjust the amount of syrup to whisk with the bacon fat.

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