Trying to pull fritters from bubbling oil with a spoon or a pair of tongs may leave you with mangled pastries, an oily mess, burns—or all three. The best tool for the job is a type of skimmer that chefs call a “spider.” Essentially a shallow basket at the end of a long handle, a spider lets boiling fat or water safely drain away while you lift food comfortably from a pot. We tested five spiders while boiling wontons and frying apple fritters and french fries. All were about 5 inches in diameter and cost from $6.95 to $19.95.
Each spider handled wontons and french fries with relative ease. But the fritters, which we shallow-fried, were another story. We like to fry in a deep Dutch oven to reduce splattering, but getting under the fritters posed a problem. Some skimmers were awkward to use and had us chasing finished fritters around the Dutch oven while the rest of the batch burned. We prefer longer metal handles with extreme angles that keep our hands away from hot edges and don’t absorb odors. We also preferred woven wire baskets to solid perforated or slotted ones, which tend to bring oil with them, and we like baskets with shallower, flatter lips that get underneath food easily. Our winning strainer has all of these features, plus it’s dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasn’t sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|Recommended with Reservations|
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.
Register for CooksCountry.com
It's FAST and it's FREE.
WHY REGISTER? The equipment rating you requested is only available to registered users of CooksCountry.com. Register today for FREE access to every recipe, rating, and kitchen discovery from the current season of Cook’s Country TV.