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Serving gravy over crispy fried stuff - why?

I had lunch at one of my favorite diners just now, and decided to splurge on chicken friend steak, because they make it really well. I ordered my gravy on the side, but my server had a miscommunication with the kitchen, and I got it covered with the gravy.

I know this is common -- but I absolutely don't get it in any way. I feel the same about a lot of dishes, like tempura floating in broth, for example. Surely I can't be the only one who thinks the textural combination of fried batter and wetness totally ruins a dish.

I like some, but not all, of the bites dipped in the gravy as I go. That way, the breading stays crunchy. But I still prefer almost anything fried unadorned.

And no, I didn't send it back, but instead grumbled about it and annoyed my dining companion. But I have to say, it was a complete waste of the calories and fat

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  1. If it were possible to agree more than 100% I would!!! It makes NO sense to me. And I include biscuits in that. To me a proper biscuit has a slight *crust* on the top and more on the bottom. When I see biscuits and gravy, I stifle a strong gag reflexx :) CFS is one of our go-to breakfast favorites and, like you, I don't send it back if the gravy comes on it but I do grumble ----- my husband really LOVES it when it do that :(

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver

      I understand the concept, and understand the tradition, I like mine on the side. I don't like soggy anything. Love biscuits and gravy, love it. But love to put my own gravy on.

    2. i'm with both of you...i've NEVER understood that. i always ordered my NJ diner cheese fries with gravy *on the side* for dipping - i couldn't imagine pouring it over the top & letting the get all soggy! ick.

      1. Why put milk on your corn flakes?

        8 Replies
        1. re: paulj

          I frequently don't. When I do it' a small amount and I eat the cereal quickly as well as not eating things like corn flakes which get soggy so fast.

            1. re: c oliver

              Try your flakes with a splash of orange juice, c. They don't get soggy, and it tastes pretty darn good.
              A crispy, perfectly-fried piece of food becomes something of an abomination when drenched in crunch-annihilating gravy. I always want mine on the side, always and forevermore. If I want gravy on my crust, I'll fork off a piece of it and dredge it myself, thanks!

                1. re: mamachef

                  I used to do OJ and a sprinkle of cinnamon on my corn flakes as a kid. Mmmmm...

              1. re: paulj

                many people don't - there have been many discussions here on CH about aversions to soggy cereal.

                anyway, cornflakes aren't fried.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Biscuit and gravy is one of my favorite dishes (my own, though...never had any better at a restaurant), so I don't really mind the sogginess...I do love a thin, crispy biscuit which can usually stand up to the gravy. I do kinda get it with the country fried meats, although it doesn't bother me personally. HOWEVER, totally agree about tempura being anywhere NEAR a liquid.. Never, ever!!!

                2. re: paulj

                  Ok, I'm going to have to eat some cornflakes when I get home. About 2 hours 'till cornflakes.

                3. Get up to Quebec and try a poutine. Then tell me gravy on crispy fried stuff is bad!!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: KevinB

                    Like Sam does in some of his far-flung travels, if someone offered it to me I'd be a good guest and eat it but it certainly wouldn't be something I would ever order.

                    1. re: KevinB

                      ...or another Canadian treat, ginger beef (as in Calgary-style ginger beef). It would just be nauseating with just the deep-fried, battered beef- the sauce makes it.

                      (incidentally, poutine is available in every corner of Canada, not just in Quebec, but you really have to be in an old-school Alberta Chinese resto to have proper ginger beef).

                      1. re: John Manzo

                        "Proper" poutine is not available everywhere in Canada, though there are some places outside of Quebec that do it well (they are few and far between though, and likely in Francophone communities).

                      2. re: KevinB

                        Oh, my gosh, but the fries have to start out really crispy, then a nice gravy, flavourful, not bland, and good quality cheese. NOTHING LIKE THAT!!!

                      3. i hate that! crispy fried is ok to dunk- but don't smother it in goo.

                        1. Oddly enough, I have no problem with the gravy on chicken fried steak, mostly because when I've had it, the chicken managed to stay pretty darned crispy as the gravy (white, not brown) was on the thick side. If the gravy was more liquid and was going to make the crust soggy, I'd have a problem with it.

                          I do draw the line at putting gravy or melted cheese on french fries. Gravy goes with mashed potatoes, cheese on baked ones. :)

                          17 Replies
                          1. re: mcsheridan

                            Uh, CFS is beef not chicken :) There is also CFC - chicken-fried chicken.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              My error, of course. I eat them both. White gravy in both cases. :)

                              1. re: mcsheridan

                                It's a little interesting to me. I grew up in Atlanta, I'm 62 (tomorrow!) and never heard of chicken fried steak until I moved west. It was always country fried steak and it was cooked differently. It was floured and then cooked in "something" (some lipid of choice) in a skillet. Not fried but browned at a lower heat til done. And the gravy was always brown. Somewhere along the way I thought I was told that the "chicken" fried part originated in Texas but from reading this thread that appears not to be the case. But I like them both but consider them to be totallly different preparations.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I don't know about origins...but Threadgill's in Austin, TX makes a Wicked CFS, and they do the white gravy.

                                  When Bobby Flay did the CFS throwdown with Paula Deen, Bobby, being the northern boy that he is, did the cream gravy, and Paula, holding true to Southern food traditions, did the brown gravy. She did something I could not countenance, though; she RETURNED the crispy meat to the pan with the gravy and let the steaks get completely covered i in it before serving. Augh!

                                  1. re: mcsheridan

                                    Yep... that's just Paula. At least she didn't add her ubiquitous mayo. They'll save that twist for her sons' next cookbook.

                                    c oliver: the origins of CFS are shrouded in many local mythologies. Here in Oklahoma/Texas culinary country, we just call if Chicken Fry, and drop the word steak because it is so familiar. We trace its roots to the German immigrants who flooded the region from 1840s on, bringing their concept of wienerschnitzel into beef country.

                                    1. re: FoodFuser

                                      Isn't schnitzel served both plain, and with a sauce (often mushroom)? I've seen signs outside restaurants in British Columbia claiming to server schnitzel dozen different ways. I suspect they are aimed, in part, at the German tourists who find the North American West fascinating (and beautiful).

                                    2. re: mcsheridan

                                      Okay, here's an interesting thing: in Tennessee and Kentucky they insist on NO color in the gravy, whereas my brother and I, being Yankees from Illinois, always cook the flour in the fat at least to the light-brown stage. That's the kind of gravy I prefer on both CFS and biscuits, not to mention on the hash browns, on the grits, on the sausage, on the eggs...

                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        Sausage gravy for biscuits is always white, at least what I have had and what I make.

                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                          Don't forget that you're a "Yankee" who lives in a non-Southern state :) (Growing up in Atlanta, we never considered Floridians "real" Southerners.) Probably not a go-to authority on b&g. My mother always made gravy with at least some to a lot of color.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            You got a point. I'm a "wanna be southern gal" transplanted. Everything I have always eaten when I traveled in MS, LA, FL, and even GA have always been white. But that is just the places I went. But the guy who I learned the best recipe from was born in raised in LA, and so were his parents. So I just adopted that. But I don't think a little color would change the great flavor.

                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                              Here's a little more info. My mother didn't really consider people from LA to be true Southerners either. That racy French blood was suspect :)

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                Ouch :)

                                                Well, I have learned where ever I go if they call themselves southerners I just nod and agree. And my friend who lives in TN in the mountains in a small little cabin ... her family has a whole different take on southern food. Again I just smile have fun and nod with whatever they said about southern life. They call FL the Southern Riviera, NO the southern (CHOW is G rated so I better not say that) and AL is the Redneck Riviera, and accordingly to them we aren't southern either, lol.

                                                May be that French blood has something to do with her version of what NO is called :)

                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                  Well, now ANYONE from TN IS a Southerner!

                                    3. re: bayoucook

                                      Fish tacos on the deck of Sunnyside, a restaurant right on the edge of the west shore of Lake Tahoe. That's lunch. Breakfast will be my husband fixing eggs over easy on toasted sourdough and homemade sausage patties. Not decided on dinner. Funny how a Chowhound's plan are all about the food. Oh, yeah, take the dogs for a romp in the woods :)

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Happy birthday, c. I just checked the menu at the Lakeside and I see the fish tacos are fried. Yum! I can't abide grilled fish tacos.

                                        1. re: KTinNYC

                                          I think they actually offer fried (the only way in my opinion), cajun or grilled. Their calamari sandwich is also good and the seared ahi is a favorite. We'll probably share. And wine, of course. But if it rains, we'll have to have a backup plan. Sunnyside has the best view of the lake so I won't go if we can't sit on the deck.

                              2. My favorite typo in ages: "chicken friend steak." I guess it is a friend, in a way.

                                Poutine is kind of different, though I can't quite say how. Though now that I think about it, I'm not sure I wouldn't like it better with the goop served on the side for dipping. Dunno -- I'm not crazy about the dish anyhow, though I'm sometimes game for a good pile of garbage that I have no business getting anywhere near my digestive system!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: dmd_kc

                                  It sounds like an Asian restaurant in CT: "Friend House"--they probably serve chicken friend steak there. ;)

                                  But regarding "why"--because it's delicious to someone. I try to limit my intake of fried things to begin with, so frying than covering in gravy is a tough sell. I'd definitely try it at least once, though. I am with most of you--in cases where there's something to dip, I prefer that to soaking whatever I have with the topping (fries for example...always a pile of ketchup--or mayo--so I can dip as I please).

                                2. closer to home for jfood up here in CT since if you asked for a CFS up here you would get a blank stare. Why put hot fudge on ice cream. fudge gets cold and ice cream melts. Jfood always asks for his hot fudge on the side. Same with pancakes and syrup, on the side and do the dip.

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: jfood

                                    This is why we pay you the big bucks! I never have ice cream out but will occasionally have a waffle. I really like the idea of dipping. Thanks, kid.

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      jfood-I'm also here in CT and there are some small southern cooking joints that know about chicken fried steak.
                                      I don't like the white gravy, but would have it served with brown gravy on top.

                                      As an aside....veal parmesan or chicken parmesan has the tomato sauce (also known as gravy to many CT Italo-Americans) placed directly on the fried breading. What's the difference between that and cfc?

                                      A favorite diner/comfort food of mine is breaded fried porkchops covered in brown gravy, BUTnever have gravy on the mashed potatoes. Don't have this more than once a year, I want to live to see my grandchildren.

                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                        "As an aside....veal parmesan or chicken parmesan has the tomato sauce (also known as gravy to many CT Italo-Americans) placed directly on the fried breading. What's the difference between that and cfc?"

                                        What is cfc? Isn't that the stuff in the air conditioning compressor?

                                        And the point to jfood's post is that he does not place the gravy on the breaded topping. He places it on the side so it does not de-crisp the breading.

                                        1. re: jfood

                                          Does it take the form where Parmesan Moses/Jfood raises his staff and commands that the Red Sea of gravy part to receive the crusted patty?

                                          Charlton Heston would have liked that.

                                          1. re: FoodFuser

                                            "Let my patty gooooooooooooooooooo!"

                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              Priceless and apropos-(ooooooooooooooh). Thank you for making me laugh so hard. I've added you to my reading list in hopes of more chuckles

                                            2. re: FoodFuser

                                              cute double-f.

                                              jfood has tried that trick using his tongs, but alas he is no DeMille. So he decided his best alternative was the chicken goes in first.

                                              Now onto the burning bush.

                                        2. re: jfood

                                          After lunch today, the server (knowing it was my special day but not knowing that I/we don't really like dessert) brought us this HUGE thing. I was a *SLICE* (yeah, right) that had a chocolate cookie crust with vanilla ice cream on top. At that point they froze it. Then before serving they topped part of it with whipped cream and then hot fudge and nuts on the top. The ice cream was so frozen that te hot fudge didn't melt it but the fudge was warm enough that it did trip down the sides a bit. We had to admit that it was pretty darn good. kattyeyes, I hope you read this and see that we really CAN eat dessert :)

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            I think that presentation *might* get the jfood stamp of approval for combination of hot fudge that dit NOT melt the ice cream (a la the perfect way to do a parm). I know all you anti-desserters would be quick converts at the House of Kattyeyes. ;)

                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              here is jfood's issue with this scenario, sorta a zero-sum game.

                                              In jfood's opinion ice cream needs to be softer and a tad melted to get all the flavor. So although it was hard enough to absorb the heat of the hot fudge it probably was not soft enough to get the full flavor. It is a delicate balance.

                                              But the dessert sounds great.

                                              1. re: jfood

                                                You're right. It WAS too hard to eat. But we were sitting out on the deck - warm day here (65) - but it did eventually soften. We are so totally not dessert people so my review is very limited by inexperience. But not bad.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Sorry, had to laught at 65. I wear my ski coat at 65. I remember up north and remember a 65 degree day or close to it wearing my bathing suit in college with aluminum foil covered cardboard trying to get tan ... freezing my ass off. No under 50 the fireplace goes on. Otherwise I hate cold weather. I like warm. Ice cream most of the time down here better be rock hard or it is melted in minutes, lol.

                                        3. I have no problem with it. A good crust will stand up for the most part.

                                          My biscuits and gravy are great too. The biscuits have a nice hard top and bottom so they retain some good crunch and don't just become a gelatinous mess.


                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Davwud

                                            I agree with DT altho' I order mine on the side too. With a good crust, you can still tell it's there even with gravy on it - it kind of softens it yet it's still has a crisp to it. That won't happen with a soggy or badly made crust.

                                            1. re: Davwud

                                              Ohhh! And I missed out on the biscuits and gravy--I don't eat these out. I make them at home and don't have any issue with sogginess. Right there with you, Davwud.

                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                I guess I like my soggy, but I like to put the gravy on my self. Then I know how soggy they will be. But now crust issue with me. Biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak steak all the bomb!!

                                            2. It seems to work well with some things (Chicken Parm for example) while on other things (like gravy on french fries) I think it's horrid.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: cavandre

                                                Next time you make chick parm (jfood's favorite) try not placing the red gravy on top or underneath the chicken with the mozzy while it melts. Then have the red gravy circumvent the chicken/mozzy melt on the plate. totally different tecture to the crunch.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    OK here is the way jfood makes the CP.

                                                    All in one sautee pan

                                                    - He breads and fries the pounded cutlet.
                                                    - He places the cheese on top
                                                    - He nestles some sauce around the cutlet and cheese
                                                    - He places under the broiler

                                                  2. re: jfood

                                                    I seem to recall this method working well for veal parm too.......


                                                    Funny what things we can remember eh (jfood) ;-)

                                                1. Gravy is to be served HOT on the side, in a wide mouth thermos to keep it warm, with a small plastic ladle rather than metal to reduce conductive heat loss.

                                                  If the relationship between the diners is comfortable, they may dip their pieces of CFS or biscuit into the communal thermos.

                                                  A doilie wrapped around the plebian themos will suffice for the decorator's touch for all but the haughtiest.

                                                  Gravy and salad dressing always go on the side.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                                    For me, I want the salad lightly tossed with dressing; it doesn't feel right with it on the side.

                                                      1. re: FoodFuser

                                                        You should shoot that idea off to Sandra SemiHomemade. ;)

                                                      2. I totally agree.
                                                        I like to space out my dips into the gravy too.
                                                        I don't like anything smothered in sauce - including pasta

                                                        Believe it or not, I have never ever had biscuits & gravy, but I have to say I am intrigued.
                                                        I have a funny feeling I would like it, even though I'm normally against smothering.
                                                        I think I would like the mushy texture of gravy soaked bites contrasted with solid crumbly "naked" bites. Yummm. Wow - where can I get biscuits & gravy in NYC?
                                                        I guess I'll have to post on th Manhattan Board now!!

                                                        10 Replies
                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                            Yes Katty, but MY home-made "gravy" is red with pork in it !!! (pasta "sauce")

                                                            I usually do the other gravy once a year for Thanksgiving!

                                                            I was just reading on one of these boards (was it this one?) about "Milk gravy"
                                                            That sounds good!!
                                                            Gotta search some recipes now!

                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                              HA HA, you are one of "those" Italians. ;) It must be regional. I grew up (in CT) with these definitions:

                                                              gravy = brown sauce over meatloaf (or variation over turkey for holidays)
                                                              sauce = tomato sauce to be served over pasta

                                                              The other "gravies" are:
                                                              dried beef gravy on toast = a.k.a. "SOS" (sh*t on a shingle)
                                                              biscuits and gravy = similar to SOS, but swap dried beef for Jimmy Dean's sausage and I add a little rosemary and sometimes a little chipotle or ancho

                                                              There must be a ton of variations, but start with a white sauce, then add sausage and you're well on your way. :)

                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                Yes! Back in Brooklyn - we grew up with "gravy" (and we called "pasta" - "macaroni")
                                                                So Sunday dinner was "gravy and macaroni" regardless of what was in the red sauce or what shape the pasta was!

                                                                We never had brown gravy in the house - but when refered to my mother called it "American gravy".

                                                                Do they really call dried beef gravy on toast "shi*t on a shingle?? ha ha!!
                                                                (and what IS "Dried beef gravy?"!)

                                                                I just found a recipe for chicken fried steak & biscuits with milk gravy!!!!!
                                                                I know what I'm making for dinner Friday night!

                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                  A great addition to your milk gravy for a breakfast meal is to add crumbled hard boiled eggs and either crumbled cooked breakfast sausage or crisp bacon (or both).

                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                    I love these little regional insights--very interesting!

                                                                    Oh, absolutely, dried beef gravy (or chipped beef on toast) is SOS. Here is a little sidebar for you to check out:

                                                                    Keep reading past the "recipe" and you'll see a picture I posted of SOS.

                                                                    Oh, and to tie the whole gravy thing back to "our guy" (Ray Liotta), of course they made gravy (as you did in Brooklyn) in Goodfellas. ;)

                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                      Katty - you are the best!
                                                                      You are so right about Goodfellas!

                                                                      I really enjoyed that thread! I can't believe I have never heard of SOS!!
                                                                      I need to try it now
                                                                      That - despite the fact that from the picture - SOS resembles my cats vomit!

                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                        HA HA HA! I know, in the case of SOS, thankfully, looks aren't everything. ;) Enjoy!

                                                            2. re: NellyNel

                                                              In my past life as a soundman I did a stretch at NYC's Lone Star Cafe. Dinner frequently included black eyed peas over cornbread. The liquor from the peas on the crumbly corn bread made a sublime combination, much better than either alone or "dipped". I also like the slight mushiness of crisp felafel balls softened by tehini dressing and chopeed salad with hot sauce. Sometimes the contrast can form a spectrum of texture, greater than the sum of its parts.

                                                              1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                One of my favorite foods is seafood pan-fried noodles, which also benefits from this contrast. Some of the noodles stay crispy, and they are good that way. And some of them get soggy in the brown sauce, and they are good that way, too.

                                                            3. I like crispy and gooey together. Even when the two blend a little. Gravy on CFS, creamed eggs on toast, mushroom sauce on jaegerschnitzel, you name it. Both the topping and the base need to be properly made and properly matched, or you'll end up with a soggy mess. But when it's done right? Heaven.

                                                              1. I agree with you 100%. Having fries soaked in gravy makes no sense to me, or fries with chili and cheese on top - not for me, thank you! Having biscuits soaked in gravy makes no sense to me. But I know there are people who love all of that, so they can have it. I'd rather dunk should I want ketchup/gravy/cheese.

                                                                1. I'm completely with you, esp. wrt the tempura in broth combo. Regular, freshly fried tempura can be so good. It's a travesty to go dunk this stuff in soup!

                                                                  Don't get me wrong, I do love my gravy / sauce / broth with latkes, fried chicken, tempura, katsu, etc..., but please, I implore you, just serve it to me on the side.

                                                                  (My only exceptions are chillaquiles and the Fritos in Frito pie. So I won't claim my preferences are rational in any way. ;)

                                                                  1. It's definitely a textural issue. Clearly, a lot of people below cannot stand the combination of the two textures, while others hate the idea of things getting soggy.

                                                                    I personally enjoy both ends of the textural spectrum. I love it when you have something crunchy in liquid but it stays crunchy. However, I also enjoy taking things which are crunchy and making them soggy, too. For example, taking crusty bread and soaking it in soup until it is completely soft.

                                                                    I'm kind of surprised no one has brought up vinegar on fish and chips. I suppose if you pour on the vinegar and then immediately eat it you are okay, but otherwise it is inevitable that the fish and/or chips will get horribly soggy.

                                                                    My guess is this thread is going to see the most action from people who feel strongly as you do, but clearly if putting gravy on fried foods is a common practice then there must be some who enjoy it. I suspect it is more that for these people the benefit of the added flavor outweighs texture, and drenching it in gravy -- rather than simply dipping it later on -- is necessary to get the kind of flavor punch that they want.

                                                                    1. Isn't the fascination with crunchy and gooey at the same time the main reason Orange Chicken is the most popular Chinese dish in the US?

                                                                      A bit like buffalo wings. Why would you toss super crispy wings out of the fryer into a bunch of wet sauce that's going to make it soggy quickly?

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: huaqiao

                                                                        It's a totally different ballgame if the crunchy stuff *stays* crunchy, as orange chicken does! Somehow that stuff stays crispy even after an overnight stay in a takeout box, in the fridge. Magic.

                                                                        1. re: huaqiao

                                                                          I'm not sure I've ever had Orange Chicken. I don't like orange food generally so perhaps that's why :)

                                                                          1. re: huaqiao

                                                                            I didn't realize orange chicken was that popular. But a friend who worked years in a (good, but unexciting) Chinese restaurant tells me they could pretty much reduce the menu to General Tso's chicken, sweet and sour pork, crab rangoon, combination fried rice, combination lo mein, moo goo gai pan and egg drop soup, and suffer maybe a 5% reduction in business.

                                                                            At any rate, I'm not a fan of General Tso/sesame/sweet preparations myself -- but if I do have them, they absolutely have to be sauced a la minute. After sitting around in a steam table on a buffet? No thanks.

                                                                            Good Buffalo wings aren't breaded, so the crispy fried skin holds its own very nicely in the sauce, I think. It's the wetting of batter or breading that I object to in almost all instances.

                                                                          2. Its counterintuitive but Chinese do it all the time - breaded chicken or pork fried and stirred into a sauce, a crispy fried donut dipped in soymilk, a sizzling crispy fried egg slipped into your soup. All great.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: pepper_mil

                                                                              Ak! You just reminded me of a dish someone brought to a work thing once- tiny donuts floating in a sauce made from yogurt. I believe it was someone from India. I can still see those poor, tiny donuts begging for help from under that thick, Elmer's glue-ish yogurt blanket. KAA!!

                                                                              1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                                That would be dahi vada -- and they're actually pretty frickin' fantastic! =) I hope you got to try some.


                                                                                1. re: cimui

                                                                                  Yep- those were them. I took one with every intent to be adventurous but I couldn't bring it to my lips. (This was years ago when I was still a cilantro hating/non-raw fish eating/immature ninny) It looks like suffering to me, but if I am ever presented with such an opportunity again I will go for it. But they don't look like a party.

                                                                            2. I think it gives you the best of both worlds. Your first layer of chili cheese fries are crispy and hot....but the bottom of the pile of fries has soaked up the chili and are bloated and spicy. Not unlike myself.

                                                                              1. You people are just way too silly.
                                                                                When you fry your breaded cutlets for chicken/veal parm, you let them cool a bit on the paper towels, then stealthily (so as no one will notice and the calories don't see you coming) pick chunks of crispy crust off & eat it. You're cooking it, so you are entitled to it. The gravy and cheese goes on top of the cutlets afterwards to hide all the bald spots.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                  (I like my chicken/veal/eggplant parm to be sturdy under the cheese & sauce, but not rubbery and I don't need to have that much crispiness going on- it's not about the crust it's all about the melted cheese....)

                                                                                2. I don't like gravy/sauce on fried things, either. What's the point of making something delicious and crispy, only to make it soggy by covering it with a liquid-like substance. Sure, sometimes the breading will stay crispy under that goop, but think how much tastier it would be "dry."

                                                                                  While I can take chicken parm w/fried chicken, I prefer it made with broiled or grilled. Chicken fried steak I just don't get. Same goes for biscuits and gravy. Now, a good hot biscuit with real butter is a treat, indeed.

                                                                                  Maybe it's just my bias against gravy or sauce to begin with. (I wouldn't do well in France.) I prefer the taste of the item by itself, whether it be meat or veg, and not covered with cheese, gravy, sauce, etc. I mean, why ruin good asparagus by covering it in cheese?! Sure there exceptions like gravy on mashed potatoes, but in general I prefer unadorned food.

                                                                                  1. Just curious what folks on this thread think:

                                                                                    - How do you like your eggplant or chicken parmesan?
                                                                                    - Do you expect or desire any crispiness at all?

                                                                                    (SO wants his fried, but mushy... I have aspirations of slight crispiness... otherwise, like al.b.darned, I don't want it fried at all. Drown it in marinara and be done with it!)

                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: cimui

                                                                                      Chicken Parm should be slightly crispy, IMO. Once the breading gets mushy, it's just not good to me anymore.

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        Phew, glad to see I'm not totally out-of-whack in my expectations! SO looked at me like I had three heads when I mentioned that I preferred the eggplant a bit crispy. I don't think he'd ever contemplated the possibility of eating a non-mushy eggplant parmesan.

                                                                                      2. re: cimui

                                                                                        A really good eggplant Parm is IMO defined by the fact that the fried crust will stay crisp through the saucing and baking process, and that the eggplant itself will be light and airy inside that crust. The first fried eggplant I had was made by a friend of mine, a fine short-order cook, and it was like an incredibly savory fried communion wafer. I have been trying for years and have not been able to duplicate that, but it'd be the foundation for the best and noblest EP ever.

                                                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                          >>incredibly savory fried communion wafer

                                                                                          The former Catholic schoolgirl in me finds this analogy incredibly amusing.

                                                                                          1. re: cimui

                                                                                            The former Catholic schoolgirl I'm married to would also enjoy it, I think, if she didn't loathe eggplant.

                                                                                          2. re: Will Owen

                                                                                            and I don't put any flour or breading on my eggplant. Don't want the crust.

                                                                                          3. re: cimui

                                                                                            Do you make your egg/chick parm in the oven at all?

                                                                                          4. To answer the question " Serving gravy over crispy fried stuff-why?
                                                                                            I don't like my cfs or cfc with the sauce poured over the top, I do like a little of the sauce though underneath,and then a cup of the sauce/gravy on the side. I usually only order it at one place, and that is about it. Otherwise I make it myself, and then I do the same thing.
                                                                                            White milk gravy, heavy with pepper, made from a roux that is cooked to rid the gravy of the flour taste, I have to admit its pretty good.
                                                                                            For chicken parm, same thing, crispy exterior, sauce on the bottom, mozzerella on top,and then a little sauce, not drowing it. I never want a lot of marinara sauce though.

                                                                                            Biscuits and milk gravy with spicy sausage. The red pepper flakes sort of permeate through the milk gravy, what doesn't come out of the sausage, I add.
                                                                                            And the biscuits, I've finally made the biscuits I always was dreaming about. Slight crunch, tall, fluffy/layered interior, with a crunchy golden top. No don't cover with gravy. Just lay them open and I will butter or not the biscuit, and then slowly dunk each piece into the gravy. Sort of the same thing I do with bread and good soup or stew. Savor each bite.

                                                                                            Getting really good chicken fried steak at a restaurant isn't easy, one or two things are always off.

                                                                                            1. Same! I like the contrast of crunchy and liquidy but it's not going to happen when you just slather it on plate. By the time I get it, everything's soggy D=!

                                                                                              1. I like gravy, I like crispy fried stuff. Both at once = a treat. There must be some crispy stuff sauced and some left dry for it to be perfect. I love all of the textures it produces.

                                                                                                15 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: fern

                                                                                                  Exactly Fern!
                                                                                                  A mix of all textures is what I love.

                                                                                                  The way I make my chicken parm is a perfect example.
                                                                                                  I always make 2 seperate batches - In one pan I will layer the chicken on a plain pan and just add a dollop of sauce to the middle of the cutlet, in the other pan I will put a small layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan, and then a small dollop of sauce in the middle of each chicken cutlet.
                                                                                                  I like the contrast of both the taste and the textures. One bite is crispy chicken, the next bite is rich tomato-y mushy chicken and the next is cheesy chicken etc. etc...

                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                    try jfood's approach fromthe post above at

                                                                                                    jfood Jun 08, 2009 02:28PM

                                                                                                    Loves the double textures

                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                      Yes, yes, I like the idea. It's pretty much the same as my no sauce on the bottom method.
                                                                                                      I like it all

                                                                                                      The only chick parm I don't like is when it's completely drowned in sauce - There is no point in that!

                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                        jfood was having a hard time following your process. it lookedlike there was sauce on the top of #1 and both top and bottom of #2.

                                                                                                        jfood only has sauce on the side, not on top nor bottom.

                                                                                                        Good chicken parm is wonderful.

                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                          Sorry - I never make myself clear!!
                                                                                                          But yes you are correct.
                                                                                                          I thought jfood put the sauce on the bottom - I understand now

                                                                                                          Ahh - but you see I would miss the one bit in the middle of the cutlet that gets mushy & tomato soaked.
                                                                                                          I would never want the entire cutlet to be soaked, but having that one spot in the center of the cutlet provides exactly what I want.
                                                                                                          I make my gravy for cutlets particularly thick because when I put the dollop on the cutlet, I do not want it to run all over the cutlet, I want that spoon-sized thick dollop on there -and I want it to soak right in to the cutlet itself. This gives me a rich mushy taste/texture combo.
                                                                                                          Sometimes I will want even more of that mushy goodness, which is why I make a second pan with the gravy on the bottom.

                                                                                                          Again, I adjust my sauce/gravy for my cutlets, and my gravy tastes wonderful BUT if it were someone elses gravy - and not so condensed - I would definitely prefer jfoods completely on the side version!!

                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                            Interesting idea about the mushy center...thanks for clarifying.

                                                                                                            When you place the pan under the broiler to melt the cheese it boils/reduces the sauce to the thickness you described in your recipe.

                                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel


                                                                                                              Ever tried grilled chicken parm? Great for the low carb crowd. Pound the breast and season. Onto the grill for 3 minutes. Flip. place sauce and mozzy on top like a cheese burger and grill on the second side for 3 minutes. Not bad.

                                                                                                      2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                        nice....gosh I'm now craving chicken parm....oh darn!

                                                                                                      3. re: fern

                                                                                                        Ditto, texture. Couldn't of said it better myself. I love crispy fried steak nuggets with a creamy blue cheese dip. Not gravy, but the same principle, crispy food with a gravy or sauce. It is heaven.

                                                                                                        I make a chicken breast stuffed with spinach and walnut, with a walnut breadcrumb crust and then a blue cheese sauce. Crispy and gravy what more is there

                                                                                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                          I also don't understand the concept. For example, deep frying chicken wings till they are crispy then dousing them in Buffalo sauce until they are soggy, what is the point of frying them at that point?
                                                                                                          The cafateira at my job has a salad bar that they have prepared by 11 AM everyday and they include Ceasar salad, no logic, the Romaine is soggy within 10 minutes...

                                                                                                          1. re: Sean

                                                                                                            Now my chicken is pan fried, crispy bread crumbs and a dip and mine are not soggy.

                                                                                                            However, caesar salad should be fresh, not made ahead. Now chicken wings ... yes I do like deep fried and then tossed lightly in sauce. They are great! and they aren't soggy, besides I don't bread my wings. so they come out nice and crisp and then tossed in sauce. I do not like breaded chicken wings.

                                                                                                            But there are some dishes like parm, chicken fried steak and other dishes that I think does work well with the crisp and the sauce. Chicken and egg plant parm I have made without breading and it is good, just not as good to me.

                                                                                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                              Same here on breaded chicken wings, just the skin please. I like them tossed in sauce, lightly ,and served right away. To many places over-sauce the Buffalo style wings and they sit in the kitchen a bit before they make it the table, by that time they are soggy.

                                                                                                              1. re: Sean

                                                                                                                Ditto, light true buffalo sauce tossed ove just the skin, the best!!
                                                                                                                Thx for the support of true good wings.

                                                                                                          2. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                            K churchill - your chicken sounds yummy!
                                                                                                            and so does crispy fried steak nuggets!

                                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                              Thanks, the nuggets are marinated in a bloody mary mix and voda, just like a regular bm, and then dipped in bread crumbs and pan sauteed, then served with a good thick blue cheese dip. I make my own nothing more than hot sauce, blue cheese, sour cream and a little pepper and lemon juice, but use any kind you have. These are great on a skewer for dinner, appetizers, party, anything. The breading is light not heavy. Steak is medium rare and perfect.

                                                                                                              Thanks, the chicken I love. A little shallot, spinach, sometimes red pepper (just a bit for color) and walnuts, and then the crust in bread crumbs also with a few walnuts and then just a blue cheese sauce. You can add other stuffing, but that is the basic, sometimes I change up with pancetta which is nice or mushrooms.

                                                                                                              Both aren't very hard, pan sauteed or fried and simple flavors. But blue cheese and blue cheese butter I use all the time.

                                                                                                        2. I like my gravy on the side, whether it be CFS or biscuits. I will add a bit at a time as I see fit. If I get it with the gravy on top I'll grumble and try to get as much off of the CFS as I can, and then ask for some gravy on the side. As far as chicken Parm., just a dab of the sauce on top and more to the side. I like jfoods way of doing it. Sounds perfect.

                                                                                                          I have never had poutine, actually never heard of it before CH, but there is a cajun place in Houston that makes this Tex-Mex poutine (although they don't exactly call it that) where you have crispy shoestring french fries with roast beef and gravy on top and then it is topped with chile con queso. That sounds good to me! I don't care if my french fries get sopped up in gravy. I like them that way!

                                                                                                          1. I had a chicken fried steak for lunch just last week and it was excellent. The breading stayed nice and crispy under the gravy.


                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: Davwud


                                                                                                              Then you had an excellent CFS! I have had them before but still prefer the gravy on the side, mainly because if I can't eat all of it at the restaurant then I can bring it home and still have a crispy steak and gravy!

                                                                                                            2. I wonder if anyone has similar objections to chinese meals where the meat is fried and then sauced.

                                                                                                              I do. I always want the sauce on the side if something has been fried. If I am gonna suck down all those oil calories I want to be able to crunchity crunch madly!

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                Ooh, I agree. Although my SO's General Tso's chicken remains miraculously crispy ever after a night in the fridge. I don't want to know how much oil is used to make the dish, to make it stay crispy like that!

                                                                                                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                  I like the Chinese/Asian "wet crunch".

                                                                                                                  My favorite example of this is Kyochon fried chicken wings. I don't even bother getting regular Buffalo wings to go anymore because they're always soggy by the time I get them home. But Kyochon wings will retain some crunch even overnight.

                                                                                                                2. But how else apply to even a maybe a status of redneck
                                                                                                                  if not smother grilled hot dogs in thick creamy gravy

                                                                                                                  There is thrill of the sausages fresh off the grill.
                                                                                                                  along with a certain deep bechamelic thrill.

                                                                                                                  1. For some reason roast potatoes work great with gravy. They manage to be crispy-crunchy AND gravy-y

                                                                                                                    1. I love gravy/sauce over crispy things...my grandmother used to make fried chicken then simmer it in a pan of gravy, it was heaven! Place a mound of buttermilk mashed potatoes in the center of a plate, top with chicken & gravy and use one of those homemade biscuits to sop up the whole thing and there was nothing better. Now, I can't stand how people put ketchup on everything..french fries, burgers, etc. Gross!