Bread crumbs make a crunchy coating for fried meats, seafood and vegetables, but many home cooks avoid frying because they have trouble keeping the breading on their food. These cooks probably neglected to use an absorbent starch as a first layer, which draws moisture away from the food so it doesn't turn into steam during frying. Steam can literally blow the breading away from the food. Another problem with frying: greasy food. This happens when frying at too low of a temperature, allowing the oil to seep into the food before the crust sets. Use a frying thermometer to keep an eye on the oil temperature, which should never dip below 325 degrees F while frying.
Pat the slices of food dry with a towel before coating.
Put the cornstarch into one bowl, the eggs and water in a second bowl and the bread crumbs in a third bowl.
Place the food slices into the cornstarch and coat both sides with a light coating of the starch. Shake off any extra.
Submerge the cornstarch-covered food slices into the beaten eggs.
Lay the egg-coated food slices into the bowl of bread crumbs and roll to coat all sides. Move the breaded food to a baker's rack. Repeat with the remaining food slices.
Let the breaded food sit for 30 minutes to allow the egg to set and help hold the breading onto the food.
Fill a cooking pot with at least 3 inches of oil in the bottom and clip a frying thermometer to the side so the tip does not come into contact with the bottom or sides.
Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F.
Transfer three to five slices of food to the hot oil and fry for four to six minutes until golden brown on all sides, flipping halfway through cooking.
Remove the cooked food to the baker's rack to drain. Let the oil return to 350 degrees F before repeating the procedure with the remaining food slices.
Pat the fried food with paper towels before serving if desired.
- "The Science of Good Food"; David Joachim, Andrew Schloss; 2008
- "I'm Just Here for the Food"; Alton Brown; 2003
- When dipping the food slices, use one hand only for dredging the slices in the cornstarch and bread crumbs and the other for dipping into the eggs to keep your hands less messy than using one hand for all coatings.