Food For Thought: The Crispiest Coatings

Nov 9, 2016

"It is a given," I told Nancy Leson, "that you and I always strive to eat nothing but healthy stuff ..." 

I stopped recording until we'd recovered from our uncontrollable laughter.  When we came back I added, "But now and again we like somethin' FRIED!" 

What are some of our favorite coatings for maximum crispocity?

"I have coats for all occasions," Nancy says.  Panko crumbs, of course.  But she also likes to whirl cornbread croutons from stuffing mix in her micro-processor.  "They last forever and they make great breadcrumbs."   Leson loves corn.

"My husband turned me onto to crushed corn flake crumbs.  It makes the brownest, most delicious pork schnitzel, just like his German grandmother used to."

Which led us into a discussion of breading technique.  Nance asked if used the dry hand/wet hand  technique. That's not a kung fu style.  It just means using one hand only for the flour and bread crumbs, the other only for the egg dip. 

For me, this is a classic good idea that doesn't work.  No matter how careful I am my hands always get gummed up.  Nancy admitted the same.  "I do it next to the sink so I can wash my hands off as I go." 

But I've found a better way:

                                                         Stick a Fork in It

I use a fork to handle whatever's getting dipped in egg,  then lift up and dip the other side.  Let the excess drip off back into the egg-plate and then, still using the fork, lay it onto the breadcrumbs.  Use the flat of the fork to press it down into the crumbs, then lift, turn and repeat.  Works great and your hands never get gummy.

Finally,  one of my favorites for the crispiest coating ever is water chestnut flour – starch, actually.  It's likely to be  lumpy right out of the box so you'll need to crush it in a mortar and then sift.  Once once coated with that stuff,  foods stay crispy even the next day.

Credit VietWorldKitchen.com

Water chestnut starch also works very well mixed with water as a thickening slurry, just the same as with flour, cornstarch or tapioca powder.  You can get it at any Asian market.

Any fry-faves at your house? Let's hear about 'em.

Meantime, in the words of The Juke Jumpers, give me somethin' FRIED!

"Don't eat fried food.  It angries up the blood." – Satchel Paige