Standard breading procedure or three stage breading is the procedure that will give products that golden and crisp finish. it is also very popular with kids, and i can stump mine to think they are having some sort of deep fried nugget. the method is simple and its uses are endless. pork cutlets, chicken breast, artichoke hearts, razor clams (the most traditional cooking method), eggplant, i have even done it with cauliflower steaks before. the ingredients can and will change depending on what your using, or what outcome you are looking for. i like to coat everything and then sear it in a bit of hot oil (cast iron pan is best for this as it will hold heat and recover quicker than any other material) and just get some color on whatever i am cooking. then i like to drain it on a cooling rack to get any excess oil off. this also gives me the chance to work in batches. when you are cooking or frying anything you never want to crowd the pan or the oil as it will cause a drop in temperature that will effect the final products crispness. once everything is seared well i will usually finish in the oven. that way everything is done at one time, and i can feed people a meal rather than stages of eating.
1- flour- i use an AP flour that i have seasoned with salt and pepper. flour is cheap so dont skimp on this. when you have hands covered in raw chicken, and or breadcrumbs you dont want to be finding the flour bag and adding to it in the middle of a task. product gets totally covered with flour to give the next step something to adhere to. get a bowl or plate (i really like disposable pie tins for this) and make sure you will have plenty of room to work.
2- egg wash- i use beaten whole eggs that are thinned out a bit. i usually will go with water to thin them, but milk, cream, or stock can be used if those are the flavors you are looking to impart. you have to thin them as the eggs will have a really snotty consistency if you dont. thinned out they will adhere to the flour well, and give you great coverage. again chose a bowl with plenty of working room. the egg is in place to give the next step something to adhere to.
3- crumbs- i use a japanese bread crumb called panko that is available in the ethnic section at your megamart, but sometimes you can buy it bulk for less than half the cost. other options are bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, cornmeal, even cookie crumbs depending on what your doing. get good coverage and then have a spot to rest everything as you go.
4-oil- i use a canola or vegetable oil for things like this. you could use shortening as well. butter will burn, olive oil will lose all the aromatic qualities we love about it and will also burn so stay away from both of those.
when breading the goal is always to keep one hand clean, at least that what you are taught in culinary school. honestly i can work much faster with both hands in, so i usually will throw on a pair of gloves while i do it, that way when the phone rings i can just rip one off. either way you will get what is called "club hand" which happens when you put your fingers in flour, then egg, than panko and repeat more than a few times. working from left to right dip in flour, move to egg, then immerse in your crumb mixture, remove to a clean sheet pan, and continue. if your egg wash starts to thicken then add a tad more liquid. once everything is breaded it is best to fry as soon as possible. get your pan and add oil to cover the bottom deep enough to come up about half the side of whatever you are cooking, get the oil hot but not smoking, then gently lay in your product going away from you as to not splatter yourself. dont crowd the pan but you can usally get at least a couple of pieces working at once. as things start to turn a golden brown flip them only once to brown the other side (remember we are not worried about cooking the whole thing right now, just about the color) remove and let them drain on paper towels or a cooling rack and repeat until done. if your product was thin it should be cooked by now and can be held in an oven to keep warm, or place everything on a sheet pan and cook in the oven to finish.
sidebar- the frying process of oil half way up the product flipping once is called pan frying, a wonderful solution to deep frying as it wont make your house smell like a fast food restaurant......as bad. its also quicker and easier to clean up.
from just a thin piece of pork, or balls of breaded then frozen ice cream this is a versatile method that i hope is applicable in your everyday kitchen. i do not have a legal team but i do have a tad of common sense therefore i shouldnt have to warn you that oil burns can get really ugly, dont do this barefoot, or with children in your kitchen. it is also a pretty good idea to invest in a fire extinguisher for you kitchen especially for tasks like this. i dont forsee you ever having problems with this but it can never hurt to be prepared.
worth mentioning this is not the method i would use to fry chicken (as in bone on colonel Saunders style fried chicken) or wings. that method is a 2 stage breading procedure that we can talk about soon.
also last year at a very high end dinner that i was involved in at work, for one course, with much practice were able to deep fry a mushroom soup usuing this method. prefectly crisp on the outside but when you cut into it, it spilled out onto the plate and you needed a spoon to eat it. wish i had a picture to show you. a few people didnt even notice, but a few were mind blown. we were cracking up in the kitchen as it went out. "we just served deep fried soup"