Southern cuisine is known for fried foods, including the savory deep-fried turkey and sweet beignets.
Unfortunately, these fried foods are also have a reputation for not being the healthiest choice.
Especially to those unfamiliar with New Orleans cuisine, this may be reason enough to stay away from anything that comes from a deep fryer.
But there’s good news: These days, fried food chefs and home cooks use peanut oil as a substitute, which not only works just as well as lard, but also has a long list of beneficial frying and health properties.
At Copeland’s of New Orleans Atlanta-area restaurants, we cook our deep-fried Turkeys in peanut oil.
What exactly is peanut oil?
Peanut oil is a vegetable oil that is trans-fat free, cholesterol free, and low in saturated fats while high in “good fats” such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Consumption of these fats in studies has shown to improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. When it comes to New Orleans famous fried foods, one can eat with a little less guilt knowing that peanut oil has much healthier advantages than lard. As Oscar Wilde once said: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
This means Copelands’ guests can eat our Cajun fried turkey without the guilt!
On top of the helpful health factors, peanut oil is a great frying agent due to its neutral taste and ability to reach high temperatures without smoking, allowing the fried foods to pick up less oil without compromising crispiness or flavor. Additionally, peanut oil doesn’t absorb the flavors of the food it fries, making it possible to reuse to the oil time and time again with different foods. So, as long as the oil is stored properly in a cool, dry place within an airtight container, home cooks and even chefs can enjoy reusing peanut oil to their heart’s content.
Not all peanut oils are created equal.
Peanut oil comes in varied forms, with different flavor profiles and health purposes. Refined peanut oil, for example, is what most major U.S. food businesses use because it’s a non-allergenic product. The process of refining, bleaching, and deodorizing the oil removes the protein that causes peanut allergies, making it possible to deep fry anything (except for maybe peanuts) and serve it to those who are severely allergic to peanuts.
Another type of peanut oil is roasted peanut oil. This alternative is aromatic and adds a delicious nutty flavor to foods cooked in it.
Purists may lament the switch from lard to peanut oil over the years, but one thing is certainly never going to change in Southern cooking: the desire for fried goodness.
Our guests from Marietta, Kennesaw, Atlanta and all over our part of Georgia who crave the classic taste New Orleans love Copeland’s. From Cajun deep-fried turkey (available year-round) to golden fried catfish to our famous brunch buffets, come enjoy the range of delicious foods Louisiana cuisine has to offer both in-house or at your own catered event.