Give your food a crispy coating with a technique called dredging. Also referred to as breading, it means to dip food such as poultry, fish, or meat in flour, cornmeal, or bread crumbs to help preserve moisture during cooking. Read on for more information about this popular technique.
There are several reasons to dredge your food prior to sauteing or frying:
Follow these simple steps for dredging food:
1. Prepare the coatings for dredging and place them in separate shallow dishes. This allows you to dredge and coat the food in an assembly-line fashion.
2. Dredge meat such as chicken or fish in flour first. The flour will help seal in moisture to protect the food from the high cooking heat.
3. Dip both sides of the meat in egg that has been beaten with milk or water. The egg wash provides a sticky surface for the final coating to cling to. To keep your fingers from getting more coating on them than the food, use one hand for dipping the food into the liquid, and the other for dipping it into the breading.
4. Create a thicker coating by dredging meat in seasoned bread crumbs, cornmeal, or crushed crackers. Use your hands to pat coating gently onto both sides of the food. Set each finished piece on a platter until you're ready to fry. Keep in mind that perishable food should not be left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature (or 1 hour when the temperature is more than 90 degrees). Do not return cooked meat to the unwashed platter. Dredged meat is still raw and should be handled accordingly.
Vegetables such as onions are another popular food for dredging. Prepare crisp-coated onion rings by dredging in a flour mixture prior to frying.