Someone once said, “Everything tastes better crumbed” and I tend to agree.
There is something about the golden crunchy coating and how it contrasts to the softness of the food inside, that is just irresistible.
But achieving that perfect crumb, can be messy business.
Here are my tips for the perfect crumb:
- Flour, egg and crumb are the three layers you need for a good coating
- Dust the food lightly in seasoned flour first, shaking off any excess
- Then dip in lightly beaten egg that has been loosened with a little milk or water, again shaking off the excess
- Then coat in your chosen crumbs
- The crumbs can be a base of fresh or dried breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs or even polenta
- Build on this by adding a sprinkling of ground nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios) for a nutty flavour, a sprinkle of chopped herbs, grated lemon rind or crushed garlic
- A double dip in egg and crumbs will ensure a nice sturdy crumb
- To keep your fingers ‘nice’, use one hand for the dry ingredients (flour/crumbs) and the other for the wet
- Allow the crumbed food to dry on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes prior to frying, so the crumbs set
- When it comes to frying, shallow fry in extra light olive oil until golden and drain well on paper towel
- If your food is thicker than a schnitzel, then it’s best to finish off the cooking in the oven for 10-15 minutes
- Almost anything can be crumbed! All thin slices or small cuts of meat, seafood pieces, mushrooms, vegetables, rice balls and croquettes
- Crumbed food loves a little sauce on the side, think a flavoured mayonnaise, spicy salsa or something citrussy
- Crumbed food also freezes well, and can be cooked from frozen, again allowing some baking time if the food is on the thicker side
My recipe for Pistachio Crumbed Pork Cutlets is an example of how a humble schnitzel can be glammed up with a sprinkling of herbs and nuts. Serve with a salad or on some creamy potato mash.