Anglaise: noun, a coating for food that will be fried; verb, the act of coating or breading food before frying.
Coating food that's destined for the fryer with an anglaise simultaneously seals in moisture and gives the food that crispy crust we know and love. Here's the scoop:
Not to be confused with the classic creme anglaise dessert sauce, an anglaise for frying is a three step process:
1. Dredge the food (typically meat or fish) in flour and shake off the excess.
2. Dredge the food in eggs that have been lightly beaten.
3. Dredge the food in breadcrumbs.
To avoid what Alton Brown refers to as "club hand," keep one hand dry and one hand wet. Use the "dry" hand to dip the food into the flour and lift it into the egg, your other "wet" hand to lift it from the egg into the breadcrumbs, and then your first "dry" hand to lift it from the breadcrumbs and into the hot oil.
You can cook food that has been anglaised right away by either deep-frying or pan-frying it in a smaller amount of oil. If you have time, chilling the food after it's been anglaised can help the breadcrumbs better adhere to the surface of the food.
Try adding dry spices to the breadcrumb mixture or flavorings like tabasco sauce to the egg to amp up the flavor of your final dish!
Related: Weekend Meditation: Fear of Frying
(Image: Flickr member f10n4 licensed under Creative Commons)