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What We Mean By: Dredge

Fine Cooking Issue 65

The verb dredge means to coat a food lightly, usually in flour. Certain foods, like boneless chicken, fish fillets, and pork and veal cutlets, benefit from a light coating of flour before they’re sautéed. The flour creates a slim barrier between the food and the pan so the surface of the food is less likely to stick, will color more evenly, and will cook up crisp but not tough.

To dredge food in flour, spread some flour in a shallow dish that’s wide enough for the item that you want to coat—a cutlet, for example. First pat the cutlet mostly dry with paper towels and then season it with salt and pepper. (It’s best to season the food, rather than the flour, because you’ll have better control over the amount of seasoning that actually ends up on the food). Next, dip the cutlet in the flour and turn it over to coat. Take the cutlet out of the flour and shake it lightly over the dish to remove excess flour. The cutlet should be lightly but completely coated.

Remember to dredge foods just before cooking so the coating doesn’t get soggy, and discard any leftover flour.

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