54. Your Breading Falls Off
A golden, crunchy-crisp coating adds oodles of eating pleasure to chicken breasts, fish fillets, pork chops, and the like.
But then a breading failure happens—a kitchen tragedy. The problem is often a pan that's too cool. A cool pan grabs breading
and won't let go, causing whole slabs to peel off. Uneven coating will also chip and tear. Yes, lots of frying oil would make
the job easier, but that's not the way we do things. Technique is the key.
The solution: Flour first, and keep your pan nice and hot. Breading works best as a three-step process: Dredge in flour, dip in liquid (usually egg or buttermilk), and coat with breadcrumbs. Flour helps the liquid cling, which in turn holds the breading in place. Shake off excess at every stage to keep coating uniform. Heat oil over medium-high heat (a drop of water should sizzle when it hits the pan), and cook a few minutes without touching; hands-off cooking helps form a crust that adheres. Turn the food gently with a spatula; tongs will pinch and tear the breading. Cook until done.