The first question one must ask when contemplating deep-fried water is, “Why?” Best case, it works and you’ve got a ball of breading around a flavorless liquid. Worst case, you lose both eyes to flying drops of scalding oil.
For Jonathan Marcus, the man who pulled off this totally asinine feat, the reason was simple: He wanted to present something completely absurd at San Francisco’s Stupid Shit No One Needs and Terrible Ideas “Hackathon.” And he did.
Pulling this off is not as technically difficult as it may seem. The process of spherification, used commonly in molecular-gastronomy restaurants (remember those?), can turn liquids into squishy but manageable pseudo-solids. Marcus pulled this off by melting a ball of ice in a calcium alginate solution that formed a thin membrane about the liquid. That allowed him to bread it and, eventually, fry it on up.
Mastering the process of deep-frying water is one thing, but being brave, or stupid, enough to actually try it is quite another. H2O and hot oil do not play well together. Might we suggest a nice Shiraz instead?