Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Technique: breading

I read LOTS of recipes. I love to look through cookbooks or recipes online. After a while it is easy to see how basic principles are used in all the recipes. Cooking involves knowing a variety of skills and techniques. Once you know the basics it is easy to get creative with your recipes. As I have stated before I do not claim to be an expert but I am happy to share the little I have learned.

So, consider this the first in a series of posts on various techniques in the kitchen. I will try to have a new tip every week or two. Take these techniques and adapt them to your own recipes. It is easier than you think to create your own unique recipe. Today we tackle the art of breading meat.

I love breaded or fried anything. Who doesn't?! This is a great way to prepare any meat, poultry, or fish.

Start by setting up your stations:
Have separate dishes for flour, egg, breading. This is the basic method for breading any meat. Start by dredging the meat in the flour, then shake off excess. Next, place the meat in the egg (beaten). This gives the breading something to hold on to. Finally, coat the meat in the bread crumbs.
Cook the meat in a hot skillet with 1-2 Tablespoons of oil. Brown meat on both sides and then place in a low oven (325 degrees) to cook the rest of the way through.
Ways to be creative:
  1. Use different ingredients for the breading. crushed crackers, dry stuffing, crushed cereal, flour, panko bread crumbs.
  2. Add spices to the flour or the breading. I have used cayenne, italian seasonings, parsley, dill, etc. For a simple coating just dredge in flour. This will not give you as much of a crust, but it fries up nicely.
  3. Use different meats.chicken cutlets, chicken tenders, cube steak, swiss steak, hamburger, pork chops, fish fillets.
Tip 1: make sure your meat is uniform in size.
Sorry for the gross picture of raw chicken. I pounded the chicken breasts out until they were about 1/4 in. thick. They cooked quickly this way. After frying they only needed about 10 minutes in the oven. You could do thicker cuts of meat, like a pork chop as long as they are the same size.
Tip 2: Fish is the only thing that I would cook completely on the stovetop. No need to put in the oven after frying since fish cooks so fast anyway.

All this talk of fried chicken makes me hungry for gravy. We may have to learn that technique next time!

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