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Panko Breadcrumbs: The Secret to Faux-Fried Crunch

In our Test Kitchens you will rarely see anything truly fried. Unless we are testing a "heavy" version of a recipe for the Lighten Up column, everything is oven-fried or pan-seared to develop a crust similar to frying, without the fat frying requires.

One of my favorite ingredients gives the texture and appearance of frying without the calories -- panko breadcrumbs. These Asian-style breadcrumbs are coarser than the American version, and so create a crunchy crust that can be just as satisfying as the crust on a deep-fried food. Panko breadcrumbs are available in most regular grocery stores now.

Give them a try in our Shrimp Fritters, Oven-Fried Chicken or Crab Cakes. I think you'll love the results.