Breading protects foods while frying or sautéeing. Breading is a three-ingredient and three-step process consisting of flour, egg-wash and crumbs. However, a most important step comes before: ensuring the meat is absolutely dry before dredging.
Completely cover the food in plain or seasoned flour to help later breading adhere to it. This is called dredging. You will want to shake off as much flour as possible once this is done.
Moist meats (and most are) require that you not let the grass grow beneath your feet after dredging or another other step here before cooking. The breading may begin to fail if you wait too long.
A basic mixture is just well-beaten eggs or eggs plus a liquid (milk, water, beer, etc.). Dip the dredged item in the wash and drain off excess before applying crumbs. This helps bind the breading (crumbs).
Use dry breadcrumbs, crackermeal, cornmeal, crushed prepared cereals like cornflakes. Cover food well in the crumbs and gently press down before removing to a skillet or the fryer.
Don’t use fresh breadcrumbs. Panko is a fine, airy and crispy coating for fine frying. It is a staple of a staple of French and Japanese cuisines and perfect for chicken parmesan.
To make panko, trim crust from bread and cut into cubes, run through the food processor until the desired granularity is reached. Then dry the crumbs thoroughly. If you do not, the breading underneath the crust on your cutlet will be an unappetizing, mushy grey mess, especially if you a) store or heat them overlapping in an oven dish or b) allow the finished product to sit several minutes before serving.
For best results, refrigerate the food before breading. This means that whatever is to be fried must be able to heat up and cook between the time the food is plunged into the fryer and the batter begins to burn. In the case of a jacketed potato, it might be possible to place the freshly-baked potato into the refrigerator or freezer a few minutes prior to jacketing and frying leaving the core still pretty hot but cooling down the skin to which the breading is applied.
Obviously, a breaded item is very delicate and must be handled with great care both in your hands out in the air and in the skillet or fryer. For items such as pollo parmiggiano (chicken parmesan), chiles rellenos, etc. take care not to burn the breading. Choose a nice blond or golden brown color.
I believe I have discovered some secrets about tempura, at least, they work for me, but mine is never as good as in the restaurant. See my recipe for Japanese tempura.