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Canned fried onions as breading

The other day on one of his cooking shows, Jacques Pepin used canned french-fried onions that were crushed in a processor instead of bread crumbs when pan-frying a piece of fish. This should be excellent for chicken and pork chops too. Neat idea - I'm guessing that the fact that he thought of using the canned onions means that the estimable M. Pepin has eaten the much-maligned green bean casserole!

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  1. I do this sometimes, but I use half cornflake crumbs and half french fried onions. It comes out really good.. not too strong.

    4 Replies
    1. re: cheesecake17

      How are the french fried onion crumbs adhered to the chicken? Just wondering what 'glue' is used? Thanks!

      1. re: Val

        I usually use a beaten egg or egg whites with a squeeze of dijon mustard. But if I'm only using cornflake crumbs, the breading is 'glued' egg with a little dijon and a little sugar free apricot jam.

        1. re: cheesecake17

          Can you use egg beaters to glue?

          If I'm eating eggs for the sake of eggs (e.g. huevos ranchero), then I want real eggs, but if I could cut out some of the fat/calories on the few things I fry, that'd be nice...

          1. re: nickblesch

            You prob could. I sometimes use eggwhites. I don't fry though, I bake it.

    2. Thanks for posting this. I thought I had seen every single one of his shows, but must have missed this. This sounds a little bizarre, but if JP did it, I am pretty sure it will be great. I wonder if you can find those cans of fried onions in the 'off season' though

      1. I've seen ads for French's canned fried onions that have a recipe for chicken coated with the crushed onions. As far as I know the French's onions are readily available in supermarkets year round.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bzdhkap

          Sacre bleu - I just realized: FRENCH'S !!!!! Makes perfect sense now! ;-D

        2. heading into OT-land, but some cooking mag i was looking at recently used corn chips as a breading for a chicken sandwich. I guess if it's bread-like somehow, it might be worth trying out.

          poptart-breaded-chicken sandwich, here i come!

          1 Reply
          1. There's a recipe on the back of the can. The jist is:

            Crush the fried onions, dip your smallish boneless chicken breasts in egg wash, then the fried onions. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. My family really likes this for dinner.

            1. Interesting concept.

              I have never tried it, but I would fear whatever you "breaded" would turn out way too salty. Those canned onion things are pretty salty, although good to munch on.

              I may try this someday.

              9 Replies
              1. re: swsidejim

                That's exactly what I was thinking. Much too salty. I'm not trying it someday.
                But I must say, at least M Pepin is willing to try new things.

                1. re: Gio

                  It's way too salty alone. I mix it with cornflake crumbs or bread crumbs.

                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    Well then I wonder if Pere Jacques has access to a different canned onion ring product???? Would he knowingly use something that was not to everyone's liking? As in, "way too salty?"

                    1. re: Gio

                      I find TV cooks a little heavier on the salt (and garlic, and onion) than most of us would prefer in our own kitchens. I figure it's a restaurant thing.

                      1. re: Allison_

                        Definitely. I usually start with half the salt if it seems like the recipe calls for too much. With the canned onion rings, I find that the ones on the bottom of the can are saltier than the ones at the top. (guilty of eating them out of the can)

                2. re: swsidejim

                  Just wondering how they can be 'good to much on' straight from the can, but you would find them too salty when applied to chicken or fish?

                  1. re: bnemes3343

                    I'll eat a few spoonfuls out of the can and it's fine to me, but when the whole can is ground up and used as a coating, it seems to concentrate the flavor and be too salty

                    1. re: cheesecake17

                      I'm making fish with them tonight and will report on the saltiness (of course, I kind of like salty anyway). I will probably not salt the fish as I normally would).

                      1. re: bnemes3343

                        Let me know how it comes out.. I don't eat fish and once in a while I'll cook a tried n true recipe for my husband.

                3. I use Frank's Red Hot sauce as the glue and bake until crispy. then dip in blue cheese dressing...................

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dockhl

                    OMG! That sounds appallingly yummy, in a trashy, delicious sort of way. I'm so sorry I took out beef for dinner tonight. Otherwise...

                  2. I use one part fried onions with one part panko and if you like a crunchy crust on your fish or chicken-this is it.

                    1. Ok, I tried this last night with a couple of Turbot fillets. A little flour, then an egg wash and then the fried onions. My wife liked them. I wasn't terribly excited about them. One thing, they were NOT salty at all. In fact, I wish I had seasoned the fish before coating them. They were a bit bland. I think they would have been better if I'd mixed some parmesan in with the onions. Overall, just OK in my opinion and not something I would do very often if at all again.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: bnemes3343

                        Sounds delicious, but isn't this horribly fattening?

                        1. re: Whosyerkitty

                          I don't think so much. It was fish, and there's not that much onion coating. Had them with some oven roasted asparagus and a couple of red bliss potatoes.

                      2. I needed some quick finger foods for a couple of guys playing guitar and looking for a quick dinner to munch on while they strummed away. After reading this post (thanks, grey), I made some chicken fingers by dipping fairly tthin breast pieces in egg wash and then dredging in Trader Joe's "Gourmet Fried Onion Pieces" that had been whirled in the food processor and frying in canola oil. I did a test run with a small piece of chicken, but thought that the onion flavor overwhelmed the chicken and the dipping sauce. The crumbs also burned pretty quickly.

                        It seemed to work much better with a ratio of about 2/3 onion crumbs and 1/3 panko, with a little salt and pepper to season, cooked over medium rather than medium-high heat. The panko/onion combo made a pretty tasty and crispy chicken finger.

                        By the way, for anyone concerned with the sodium content or an overly-salty taste, the nutrition info on the onion can said that each serving had something like 35 mg of sodium. A pretty low-sodium item.

                        I'm not sure about the sodium in the Durkees, or whatever the brand is that most of us have used over the years, though.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bear

                          I love those silly onion things and now you're talking mixing them with panko which are just great for breading light things like fish. So here's what I did. I added a little heat to my breading mix 1/2 onions, 1/2 panko using some of my own spice mix with cayenne and red pepper flakes on some halibut. Really good coating, nice onion flavor and not too spicy. Halibut is great for something like this because it stood up to the onion flavor well. Salmon seems like it would work too.

                        2. I remember filching these from the kitchen cuphoard when noone was looking. And last thanksgiving, I saw cans of "organic" fried onions -- just like the other ones but organic and maybe less salty? -- at the food coop.