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Soft-Shelled Crab SandwichI had a soft-shelled crab sandwich for breakfast.  Isn’t that a terrific way to begin the day?  It was truly delicious; I’m still thinking about it.  I think I’ve mentioned this coating before, but I don’t think I’ve posted it for you.  So here it is—the perfect “dredge”."The Dredge"  Coating for Fried Chicken and FishYup, you won’t need to really have much else in the way of a coating.  This isn’t a batter, per se, but a coating.  A breading with no bread.  No wheat flour either, so for you gluten-free friends, you can go to your culinary happy place!  The key to a crispy coating, that keeps its crunch is rice flour, cornmeal and/or cornstarch!  You can season it however you wish, but that’s really the mix.

I keep a bag of it in the freezer, just ready to use whenever I want to sauté or deep fry anything.  It is particularly delicious with fish, seafood and chicken, but veggies work, as well.

I usually keep this pretty neutral, but you can add Cajun seasoning, poultry seasoning, chile powder, curry powder or whatever compliments what you’re preparing.

One other thing, I only dampen what I’m coating.  If I’ve soaked chicken in buttermilk, I remove most of the buttermilk.  Chicken Thigh Coated with "The Dredge"I usually just use water, then dredge and then, I let the dredged food rest for 5-10 minutes.  With chicken, I redredge after it rests.  That resting period allows the breading to really cling to the food.  I usually place the dredged food on either parchment of plastic wrap.  Sometimes when I make chicken, I dredge it in the morning, cover it and chill it until I’m ready to fry it, maybe 6-8 hours later.  Then I redredge, let the mixture sit on the counter and then I fry, baby!  Fried Chicken using "The Dredge"Look how the coating the chicken are one…and don’t you just want to take that bite right off the page?  See how juicy that chicken is!Fish Fillet Coated with "The Dredge" and Pan-FriedWith fish I usually don’t redredge; I like a lighter touch.   Fish Fillet Coated with "The Dredge" and Pan-FriedYou can see here how thin the coating is, but there’s enough to protect the fish when frying.  I seasoned this with some South Shore Seasoning, but you can use Old Bay, if you prefer.

The Dredge

  • Servings: Makes about 2 cups
  • Difficulty: Stupid Easy
  • Print

  • 2/3 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup extra fine cornmeal (I use Goya®)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black or white pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sweet (or hot) paprika
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder (use gluten-free, if that’s an issue)
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a plastic freezer bag.  Seal and shake to combine.  Add damp food, shake until completely coated.  Cook as desired.  Store leftover dredge in the freezer.  You may double or triple the mixture, as needed.

The Dredge Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2016.  All rights reserved.

That’s it.  I use this to coat everything from fried chicken to soft-shelled crabs and everything in between!

It produces a lovely crisp coating that holds the crispness pretty well.  It’s not the least bit heavy and you really taste the food, not the coating.  And that’s as it should be.  The coating is just barely there.  So, what are you going to make for dinner tonight?