How-To: Faux Fry

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You’re probably wondering why I would do a How-To blog on frying – especially when this cooking method is not the epitome of healthiness.  Well, this weekend we went out to a small Irish place in Old Town Alexandria called Eamonn’s.  And they had the BEST deep fried fish and chips I’ve ever had.  The fish was super crispy with a nice thick batter and the fries were crunchy and perfectly salted!  But as noted before, fried foods aren’t high up on the nutrition list – they fall into the “sometime foods” category (as opposed to an “all the time food”).  A great dish every once in a while, but not something I would recommend on a weekly basis.

However, you may have noticed the title of this blog says faux frying.  I came up with this idea because, I wanted to create a recipe or method where I could still enjoy all the benefits of fried food, but not actually fry anything.  That’s how I came up “faux frying.”  And its a technique that I use on many foods – not just fish.  I start with breading whatever food (fish, zucchini sticks, onion rings, etc) by the standard method – flour, egg wash, and then bread crumbs.  The only thing I do differently in these steps is a small change in the bread crumb step.  I use a mixture of 2 to 1 regular whole wheat bread crumbs to whole wheat panko bread crumbs.  The panko bread crumbs are a Japanese style bread crumb thats larger in size and crunchier in texture.  I like to use both because the regular bread crumbs provide great coverage while the panko bread crumbs provide the crunch factor.

Next, I preheat the oven to a high temp – 425 degrees.  I line a sheet pan with foil and set a cooling rack on top – this elevates the food from the bottom of the pan allowing the hot, dry air from the oven to completely circulate around the food preventing a soggy bottom.  Cooking time depends on the foods, but I end with a short broil so that I get a nice golden color and extra crispy crust.  The “faux fry” method is a simple, easy to do technique that can cut the fat and calories from your everyday fried foods.  Plus it’ll satisfy that fast food craving!

A great recipe to show case this faux fry method is my Fish and Chips recipe.  I’ve listed the recipe for the fish below and have linked to my Crunchy Potato Wedges recipe from a previous blog post.  I ended up serving this crispy fish with roasted brussel sprouts that I had left over in the fridge from last week.  I just needed to use them up!  But with brussel sprouts or my crunchy potato wedges, this dish will definitely make you want to faux fry more and more foods!

Faux Fried Fish and Chips:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb hearty white fish – like cod – cut into 4 oz pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup plain whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning, separated
  • Cooking spray
  • Optional:  lemon wedges, tartar sauce or cocktail sauce

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and set a wire cooling rack on top.  Spray cooling rack liberally with cooking spray.
  3. In 3 separate bowls/plates, put flour in one, egg in another, and bread crumbs in the last one.  Scramble the egg well.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of Old Bay to the bread crumb mixture.  Add the remaining 1 tsp of Old Bay into the flour and mix both well.
  5. Pat the fish dry with paper towels and like an assembly line, take the first piece of fish and dip it into the flour mixture until well coated on both sides.
  6. From the flour, dip the fish into the egg until completely coated in egg – make sure you get every bit coated otherwise the bread crumbs won’t stick very well.
  7. Lastly, take the fish and dip it into the bread crumb mixture pressing the fish down so its completely coated with the bread crumbs.
  8. Continue with the remaining fish and place all pieces onto the sprayed wire rack.  Coat each piece of fish with cooking spray on the top.
  9. Bake in the oven for about 7 minutes.
  10. Turn the broiler on high and broil fish for 1-2 minutes or until desired golden brown.  Remove fish from oven, carefully flip to the other side, and broil for another 1-2 minutes.

Serve warm with lemon wedges, tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.  Also great on a kaiser roll with lettuce and tomato!

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