Pan frying tips from the pros

November 21, 2009|By SCOTT C. ANDERSON / Special to The Herald-Mail

This is another tried and true recipe from the Culinary Institute of America. In the culinary class I took a month ago, students went over the various methods of frying foods using pan-fry and deep-fry methods.

We also utilized a variety of breadcrumbs - fresh, dried and Panko (Japanese bread crumbs).

Seven steps to follow when pan frying:

1. Heat oil to the appropriate temperature; 350 degrees for this recipe.

2. Add the main item (usually breaded or batter-coated) to the pan in a single layer.

3. Pan-fry the food on the first side until it is well-browned.

4. Flip item and cook it to the desired doneness.

5. Remove the main item and finish it in the oven, if necessary.

6. Drain the item on absorbent paper.

7. Season and serve with appropriate sauce and garnish on the side.


Two steps to avoid:

1. Do not cook items ahead and hold (the coating becomes soggy and the product dries out).

2. Do not deglaze the pan to make a sauce.

Pan-fried fish with dried breadcrumbs

2 eggs
1 tablespoon water or milk
1 1/4 pounds firm white fish (cod or hake), cut into six 3-ounce portions
Salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh lemon juice, to taste
All-purpose flour, as needed
2 fluid ounces egg wash
1 cup dried breadcrumbs (see cook's note)
10 fluid ounces vegetable oil
6 lemon wedges

Beat eggs. Mix with water or milk. This is your egg wash.

Blot the fish dry, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice, dredge the fish in flour, dip in egg wash and dredge in breadcrumbs.

Heat about 1/8 inch of oil to about 350 degrees over medium heat. Working in batches, add the breaded fish to the hot oil and pan fry on the first side for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Turn once and finish pan-frying on the second side, 1 to 2 minutes more, until cooked through.

Drain briefly on absorbent paper towels and serve immediately. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Cook's note: Seasoned breadcrumbs can be substituted if desired.

- Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services.

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