Thin veal schnitzel, thin beef escalopes and trimmed lamb cutlets are all ideal to crumb.
The four steps to crumbing meat
- Dust beef, veal or lamb in lightly seasoned flour. Shake off excess, then coat in lightly beaten egg. Lastly, dip the meat into breadcrumbs and shake off excess. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set the crumb coating.
- Add enough oil to a medium-sized, heavy-based pan to come halfway up the side of the pan. Heat the oil over a moderately high heat until the oil is hot.
- Cook in batches so that you do not overcrowd the pan. Cook on both sides until lightly golden. Allow the oil to reheat to hot between batches.
- Drain the crumbed meat on paper towel after cooking. Keep warm in moderate oven while you cook remaining batches.
Use three deep plates to crumb the meat.
- One for flour, use plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
- One plate for beaten eggs, adding a little oil or milk to the eggs helps the crumbs adhere.
- One for crumbs, see below for tasty crumb options.
Start with moderate amounts, you can always top up quantities as needed.
- Use a mix of fresh and dried breadcrumbs to coat your meat, keep the proportion at half dried breadcrumbs, half-fresh.
- Add a couple of spoonfuls of grated parmesan or pecorino and some chopped parsley to the crumbs for a delicious flavour.
- Another tasty idea is to combine dried breadcrumbs and dry seasoned stuffing mix. Use a half and half ratio.
- Panko crumbs, a flaky Japanese breadcrumb, give a very light, crunchy coating too. Panko crumbs are available in Asian grocery stores and large supermarkets.
Resting the crumbed meat in the fridge for 15 minutes before frying ensures the crumb coating sticks to the meat. Its important to rest the crumbed meat in a single layer, or between sheets of baking paper so the crumb coating does not sweat, making the coating soggy.
What oil should I use?
- Grapeseed and sunflower oil are good all-purpose oils that are an inexpensive choice for frying.
- Olive oil stands up well to high frying temperatures, its high smoke point 210oC makes it good choice. The digestibility of olive oil is not affected when it is heated, even when it is re-used for frying.
- Rice bran oil, with a high smoke point of 250oC is also very good for frying crumbed meat
Whichever oil you use, if it begins to smoke, turn the heat down immediately.
Shallow-frying is the method used to cook crumbed meat
Oil is added to a heavy based pan, to the depth of about 1.5cm (for a medium sized pan). Do not crowd the pan when shallow-frying as it will reduce the heat and the crumb coating will soak up the oil.
It’s important to reheat the oil between batches so the oil is hot when the crumbed meat goes into the pan. If the oil is not hot enough it won’t seal the crumb coating and the crumbs will become laden with oil.
Oven baking crumbed meats
- Preheat oven to 200ºC. Put a rack on a baking tray and spray the rack with cooking oil (rice bran or olive oil) spray.
- Place the crumbed meat on the rack, do not overlap or crowd meat. Spray it generously with the oil spray.
- Cook for about 8 minutes on one side. Turn the meat and generously spray the other side with oil spray, then cook a further 8–10 minutes, or until golden.