If you think healthy eating means giving up the foods you love, grab a plate and taste what you've been missing.
Fry With a Clear Conscience
Dredging food in flour or cornstarch before dipping in a binder and crumb coating seals in moisture and adds extra crispness. Use all-purpose flour rather than whole wheat, which is heavier and absorbs moisture less readily.
Choosing the right ingredient and technique for a recipe is important. A binder made with lightly beaten egg whites works magic with oven-fried foods. The light, coarse texture of Japanese breadcrumbs (panko) and crushed saltine crackers maximizes the crunch factor of coating mixtures. After dredging, firmly press any loose crumbs from the coating mixture onto the food.
Coating the Food
Lightly coating the food rather than the skillet or baking pan with vegetable cooking spray allows the oil to evenly cover the surface for optimum browning.
Hooked on Flavor
Here's a terrific little recipe for pan-frying fish without a skillet full of oil.
Natural sugars in paprika and cornmeal caramelize to a deep golden brown, creating a paper-thin crust that seals in the juices. We used catfish fillets, but any mild-flavored fish will be just as tasty. Amp up the flavor by replacing the salt and pepper with a spicy seasoning blend such as Creole or Caribbean jerk. Don't overcrowd the pan. If your skillet isn't large enough to hold all four fillets, just cook the fish in two batches.
The secret to pan-frying is a heavy skillet hot enough to sear the food as soon as it hits the pan. Monitor the heat, turning it down or lifting the skillet away from the burner for brief intervals, if the food is browning too quickly.
- Catfish is one of the best sources of vitamin D, a vital nutrient that helps your body absorb and retain calcium, promoting bone health.
- Beef is a good source of nine essential nutrients. The leanest cuts, such as those used for cubed steak, average just 1 more gram of saturated fat per serving than a skinless chicken breast.
- Low-calorie, high-fiber potatoes offer vitamins C and B6 and potassium. Mashed potatoes are a favorite (especially with Chicken-fried Steak), but skip the butter, and stir in a few spoonfuls of fat-free cream cheese instead. The cheese adds richness and calcium and lowers the glycemic index of the potatoes.