Need help with something I saw on TV

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Joined Jul 17, 2010
I happen to be watching one of the many cooking shows on TV the other night and the guests on the show were talking badly about a dish someone had made - they said that it was "because they didnt salt the proteins as they cooked"

When the cook said "I used salt in my flour coating" they rolled their eyes and said 'you always salt proteins"

so my question is this - I have also used salt in my flour mixture when coating something (as well as additional spices) and didnt think I needed to salt directly - is there a difference? and if so why?

I have googled for days and can't find the reasoning behind it - any help would be appreciated /img/vbsmilies/smilies//smile.gif
 
 
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I have found that seasoning the protein and the flour/batter results in a better tasting product. To get enough seasoning in only the coating to properly season the protein you end up with an overly salty coating.
 
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Think about the seasoned flour for a moment.

Think about the weight of the flour as opposed to the salt and pepper.

Even mixed the salt is going to fall to the bottom of the pan leaving you with very little in the way of seasoning.

Seasoning the protein before you dredge it in seasoned flour ensures that the product will be seasoned through.

Even when you are breading your  flour, egg wash, and bread crumb are always seasoned.

Of course you adjust the seasoning knowing all of this.

The protein should be patted dry before dredging in the flour. All excess is tapped off. The protein goes into a hot pan with very little fat.

This is saute. If you put any more fat than that in, it becomes frying.

But I digress......................The judges were correct in their assertions.
 
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I've got to admit, I do it as Mary does. May try it tonight on some chiken thighs as Chefross has suggested and see if it's a noticable difference.  Thanks for the tip.
 
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Ideally, you season every step along the way.  You've heard about "layering flavors," that's not only the prime example but the prime opportunity.

The judges were half-right and half full of it.  Had the chicken been adequately seasoned with salt and pepper they never would have complained.  But when you compare foods which are both at the proper seasoning level, the one which has been seasoned in layers will taste better. 

Don't take my word for it.  Try it for yourself.

With fried chicken, if the choice is to season the raw flour or the chicken, season the chicken.  But better to season both.  You can actually better include herbs in the flour than directly on the skin, unless you're using a very fine ground rub.

I certainly don't mean to question anyone else's experience, but I don't have any problems with the salt disappearing from the flour. 

I make a seasoning blend and adjust the strongest flavors so that the flour isn't overseasoned, but you can see the seasoning in the flour.  It helps to use paprika not only for its taste but its visibility. 

With all fried food, it's best to slightly underseason for the cooking process and hit the finished product with some salt and pepper (or a spice mix) just as it comes out of the fryer.  Hot, fresh, fried food embraces seasoning in a particularly wonderful way.

When I use a liquid as part of the breading process for fried foods, as in buttermilk-flour, flour-egg-flour, or some other liquid... I find that some hot sauce adds quite a bit of depth to the final flavor. 

Remember, that if you're going to season three or four times during the process that several of the seasoning can add up pretty quickly.  So take it easy in the beginning.

BDL
 
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Joined Mar 3, 2010
in my opinion and the way i been taught to do it, is season everything.  i season my flour lightly and before putting my protien in, i season it aswell. but it depends on what you are doing aswell. we had thse oysters at my other job thatwe used this seasoned flour, it was seasoned with spices and salt and pepper. we never seasoned beofre adding to the flour, some afterwards but ti was good to go.
 
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As BDL says ""Layering""Is what I have found the best. I season the flour crumbs and protein. I find when you only do one of them, the seasoning seems to become diluted. By doing the protein the seasoning will tend more to penetrate. By flour and crumb you will tend to get the immediate flavor on our tongue. However in a word to the judge "thats why we put salt and pepper on the table''
 
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While I have no argument with everyone who talks about layering, I'd like to address the OPs source.

I'll give 7 to 5 odds the show was Chopped or one of its derivitives, and that the judges had pre-determined their decsions based on the contestent having not followed one of the hard and fast rules many of those judges believe in. That in this case they watched the contestent not season the protein directly, and, therefore, knew that the food would taste badly. Actually putting it in their mouths was irrelevent to the decision.

I bring this up because it's precisely that sort of thing that gives people like the OP the wrong idea about cooking. Certainly there are procedures and techniques that are better in some cases, not so good in others. But the fact is, there are no rules as such, and judges should be evaluating a dish based on it's finished state, not on how the cook got it there.
 
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Joined Jul 17, 2010
I'll give 7 to 5 odds the show was Chopped or one of its derivitives, and that the judges had pre-determined their decsions based on the contestent having not followed one of the hard and fast rules many of those judges believe in. That in this case they watched the contestent not season the protein directly, and, therefore, knew that the food would taste badly. Actually putting it in their mouths was irrelevent to the decision.

 
 
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