I really like fried breaded chicken breasts, zucchini and eggplant paired with pasta. But, I always feel kind of guilty when I pan fry these in oil. I keep trying to come up with alternatives. The typical approach would be to grill all of these things. However, in my opinion the finished texture just isn’t the same. I really want to have that crisp crunch of the breading. So today I decided to see if “oven frying” these items would actually work well enough to be satisfactory.
First I salted the eggplant and zucchini to remove the water. I do this when I bread and pan fry them as well. After letting them sit for 2-3 hours I dried them off. Then I pounded and cut my chicken breast into reasonably sized pieces and seasoned them with salt and pepper. Then I made up three dishes for coating the items. The first dish was plain flour, the second beaten eggs and the third Italian bread crumbs. I also prepped baking sheets with parchment and heated the oven to 400 degrees.
Next I dredged each item in the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. I placed each coated item on the baking sheet and repeated the process until all the items were coated and on the baking sheets. The baking sheets went into the oven at 400 degrees on convection bake for 15-20 minutes.
The final product definitely had the crisp breading texture I wanted without the cholesterol and calories from pan frying. However, the taste wasn’t QUITE on point, especially the oven fried vegetables. They lacked the savoriness on the outside crust which makes the pan fried ones so tasty. Next time I’m going to try to do a quick spray of avocado oil on the breaded items BEFORE I bake them. Hopefully this will get me savory flavor along with the crisp texture.