Saturday, December 06, 2008

Keeping Your Coating On!

One cooking technique that I've never really tried before is pan frying items that have been coated in some way. For example Chicken Fried Steak. I've heard that one of the top questions that cooks ask is 'How do I keep the coating on the steak?'. Visions of burnt crispy bits floating around in a skillet of hot oil had deterred me from attempting this feat. Plus I could claim that I was trying to eat healthy as a way of avoidance.

Well Cooking Light arrived with an article devoted to pan frying so I really had no more excuses. One of the recipes that sounded really yummy was chicken stuffed with Pancetta and Fontina.

One problem - I didn't have Pancetta or Fontina and I didn't want to get out of my comfy clothes to go to the store! I rummaged around in my fridge and mixed up a stuffing of chopped deli ham, cheddar, garlic and rosemary.

As you can see from the pic I go through a lot of garlic so I but it in bulk :)

The next step was probably the fiddliest. Cutting a pocket in the side of the chicken and making a cavity for the stuffing. The trick is to use a small knife and to make sure you don't make a hole in the other side of the meat in your zeal for maximum stuffing containment. Then all it takes is a teaspoon and some judicious poking with your fingers to get the chicken stuffed.

Now it starts to get really fun. You set up three dishes with coatings on them. The first one had 1/2 cup of flour. The second, 2 egg whites lightly beaten, and the third had saltine crumbs in it. (Take a sleeve of saltines and run them through the processor for 2 minutes.)

You cat the chicken with flour, then with egg white and then with the cracker crumbs. Why the flour? Why not just dip in the egg white and the crumbs? Well The egg white won't stick to raw chicken without something for it to bind too. And the cracker crumbs are too dense to stick to the chicken without some form of glue. So the Crumbs stick to the egg white which sticks to the flour which sticks to the chicken! Do it this way and your coating shouldn't fall off!

The one trick I learned is to designate a 'Wet hand' and a 'Dry Hand'. Otherwise the mixture gets all over you and makes a real mess.

  1. Use the wet hand to pick up the chicken and place it in the flour.
  2. Use the dry hand to coat it in the flour.
  3. Using the dry hand, shake off the excess and place the chicken in the egg white.
  4. Using the wet hand make sure the chicken is coated in the egg white.
  5. Using the wet hand shake off the excess and place the chicken in the crumbs.
  6. Using the dry hand coat the chicken in the crumbs.
  7. Using the dry hand shake off the excess chicken and place it on your board.

It's as easy as that. Repeat with all your chicken pieces and then you are ready to cook!

Put the chicken in the oil and fry one side for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes flip it over carefully with some tongs and give the other side 10 minutes.

And there's the finished deal :)

The coating stayed on the chicken and the chicken is crispy without being drenched in oil.


1 comment:

Deidra said...

That sounds really yummy will have to try that just pulled chicken out this morning not really no what to do with it. Thanks for the recipe