I've always been a fan of double-breading, but...

…I’ve recently come to love a simple spiced flour coating for pan-fried foods. I made up a simple flour-coated cubed steak the other night (with associated pan gravy, of course) that was a massive crowd pleaser. Last night, I had several chicken breasts left over from last week, so I cubed, spiced, coated, and fried them, then used them as a base for the best gumbo I have ever made.

Not exceptionally healthy, sure, but since there’s almost no real breading, the meat can be very effectively drained on a paper towel so that it’s simply tender and flavorful, and not a bit greasy.

Sometimes it’s the simple stuff, huh?

Yeah, I go both ways on this. Fried chicken just has to be double battered to suit me. But I’ll vary other foods based on my mood at the time.

I have one word for you: Panko.

Panko is great, but it doesn’t give you the effect of a plain-flour coating, which is delightful in itself.

Panko, for instance, would have been entirely inappropriate for the gumbo. It would have gotten soggy and fallen apart. The flour, on the other hand, was perfect. It left tiny browned bits in the oil, not to mention the essence of the spices, so when I made the roux, it was wonderfully flavored. It also held up extremely well as I simmered the gumbo. The flour coating did not fall apart and come off the chicken. It held onto the outside as the chicken became dissolve-in-your-mouth tender.

I don’t see why meat cooked this way is so “not exceptionally healthy” but then, I’m no nutritionist.

Unless he’s talking about breading in general, I don’t know what that meant either.

In the first place, “not exceptionally healthy” is not “so” anything. It wasn’t exactly a sweeping statement of condemnation. In the second place, the method (the way I used it) takes lean proteins and adds moderate amounts of fats and unnecessary carbohydrates, neither of which are strictly necessary in a typical American’s diet, and both of which constitute largely nutrition-free extra calories.

Yeah, didn’t think about the gumbo. The flour would also do a good job of thickening it up too.

I use the once-dredge method for white fish and thin-cut chops, but I don’t know how I’d like it on chicken cutlets or pounded chicken breasts. The idea of twice-dredging (with an egg wash) is to ensure the crust stays adhered to the meat (flour sticks to the meat, egg sticks to the flour, flour sticks to the egg). You didn’t have a problem with the “crust” getting soggy and peeling away from the meat?

If that’s a problem, pound the breading into the meat. A thin coat of oil on the meat before breading helps as well.

I was concerned about it, but no, it wasn’t an issue at all. I even slow-simmered the whole thing for about 25 minutes to cook the sausage through. The breading stayed firmly in place.

But lord, I wished I had some nice funky fish instead of the chicken. The gumbo, which was already excellent, would have been ridiculous with pan-fried fish.

Aw, it’s great on chicken cutlets, Shark Sammich. Doesn’t hurt to press the flour into the surface and then … wander off for a few minutes. Find something to do for 5 or 10 minutes and it’ll give the flour proteins a little time to set up.

Also - always pat your meat dry before flouring it. Salt it, too.

Words to live by. Sorta.