Amanda Freitag Changed the Way I Make Chicken Cutlets
Her dredging station trick means WAY less mess.
There is something almost magical about coating chicken, fish — even vegetables— with breadcrumbs and giving them a quick bake or fry. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts transform into every kid’s favorite, chicken fingers. Fish fillets turn into fish sticks, veal into milanese, onions into onion rings and zucchini into "fries."
But the process of breading anything? Not so magical. If you’re anything like me, it usually involves getting more coating on yourself than on what’s actually going into the oven or fryer. With each dredge of flour, dip into the beaten egg and sprinkling of breadcrumbs, my fingers became more and more drenched. I tried using tongs, only to discover that I couldn’t properly cover the entire protein that way (if you have figured this out, well tell me how). Forks presented a similar problem. At this point I only had two options: Either deal with the mess and frequent hand-washing or give up homemade chicken cutlets for good.
Or so I thought.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I was watching Amanda Freitag prepare Veal Milanese on the all-new Food Network Kitchen app and she did the simplest, smartest thing: Designate one hand for the flour and breadcrumbs, and the other for dealing with the egg.
"When you’re breading something, try and keep one hand dry and one hand wet," says Amanda. As she took us through the entire process, a light bulb went off in my head: She dropped the cutlet into the flour with her right hand. She gave a good shake and placed it into the egg with that same hand. Then, she switched hands and used her left to coat the cutlet with the egg and transfer it to the bowl of breadcrumbs. Finally, she went back to using her right hand to cover the cutlet completely with breadcrumbs and transfer to a baking sheet. As Amanda repeated this process with the rest of the cutlets, her hands remained clean. I couldn’t believe it!
Of course, I immediately applied what I learned and cooked up a batch of chicken cutlets for dinner that night. As I went through the whole assembly-line of flour, egg, and crumbs, my hands, too, stayed clean. Success! Now you can find me breading and frying everything in my kitchen — mess-free!