No joke, I actually went to Target for the express purpose of buying the Presto 05471 1000-Watt 1-Liter Stainless-Steel Electric Deep Fryer. My friend J assures me that a deep fryer is a totally unnecessary item – that a pan and a thermometer will do the trick just as well, and I am sure she is right. Seriously, the Amazon reviews for the friers, no matter how cheap, are uniformly great. This can only mean that heating oil is not a terribly difficult thing to do.
Frying is such uncharted territory for me though that I really liked the idea of having a dedicated piece of equipment. It comes with instructions (which I need), and stores the oil when I am not using it. Also, it fits nicely in the very top of my cabinet, the perfect symbolic spot for how often I should be using it.
For my first deep-fry experiment, I made eggplant parmigiana, kind-of. Really, I just fried eggplant and served it with marinara and basil. It was ridiculously good. The kids loved it. There is no recipe here: dredge slices of eggplant on flour, dip in egg, and coat with panko. Then fry until nicely brown, preferably with the Presto 05471 1000-Watt 1-Liter Stainless-Steel Electric Deep Fryer, which I highly recommend.
Also? Despite my extreme caution, I managed to spill a fair amount of oil on my skirt. I can attest that some combination of baking soda, very hot water, dish detergent, and panic can take even quite large oil stains out of organic cotton.