Way to fry can go lighter

So fried foods might not always be good for you, but they are a tasty treat. Southern Living editor Norman King touts the southern classic preparation, in moderation, and even offers lower-fat and “oven fried” dishes in “Southern Living: The Way to Fry.”

Get ready to drool when looking over the pictures contained in the chapters of this book. Golden fried crunchy goodness practically leaps off the pages.

The book is divided into eight main chapters, Off to a Crunchy Start, Southern Classics, Main Dish Favorites, Lightened Favorites, Satisfying Sides, Palate-Cleansing Salads, Sweet Endings and Just for Fun. It also contains a chapter showing basic techniques and equipment and sauces.

In Off to a Crunchy Start, great southern fried starters are shown like Fried Green Tomato Sliders, Sweet Potato Chips, Bacon-Grits Fritters, Hoppin’ John Hush Puppies, Buttermilk Chicken and Waffles, Spicy Buffalo Wings, Bayou Fried Shrimp and more.

Southern Classics have tasty dishes like Fried Green Tomatoes, Hot-Water Cornbread, Chicken-Fried Steak with Redeye Gravy, Our Best Southern Fried Chicken and more.

Main Dish Favorites expands the taste buds with Fried Okra Tacos, Fried Egg Sandwiches, Taquitos with Pork Picadillo, Cajun-Seasoned Pan-Fried Pork Chops, Pan-Fried Chicken-and-Ham Parmesan, Turkey Piccata, Tuscan Catfish with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli and more.

Lightened Favorites include lighter versions of dishes like From-Scratch Oven Fries, “Fried” Rings, Tortilla-Crusted Pork, Mini Crab Cakes with Garlic-Chive Sauce and more.

Satisfying Sides are dishes to enjoy with the main courses like Grilled Jalapeno Lime Corn on the Cob, Lela’s Hush Puppies, Bacon and Bourbon Collards, Fried Cucumbers, Picnic Potato Salad, Church-Style Lemon Roasted Potatoes, Squash Casserole and more.

Palate-Cleansing Salads bring a little something more to the table like Tomato and Watermelon Salad, Cranberry-Strawberry Salad, Mango Salad, Veggie Potato Salad and more.

Sweet Endings wrap things up with New Orleans Beignets, Jelly Doughnuts, Oven-Baked Churros, Sweet Tea Beignets, Apple Fritters, Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie, Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake and more.

The last chapter, Just for Fun, is a naughty chapter of trying to deep fry anything! There’s Beer Batter-Fried Pickles, Deep-Fried Barbecue Plate (an egg roll wrapper filled with barbecue and cole slaw), Deep-Fried Moon Pies, Deep-Fried Candy Corn and even Bacon-Peanut Truffles.

I made the lightened dish, Chicken-Fried Steak with Cream Gravy for my family one night. This dish uses cubed steak dredged in egg substitutes, saltine crackers and a bit of salt and pepper and then fried in a skillet. I added a bit of olive oil to cook the steak in and it was good and didn’t burn. Success! The cream gravy was low-fat milk with a bit of low-fat soup mix to add flavor. It was a pretty quick fix dinner, and everyone, even the picky youngest, liked it. I definitely want to try this one again.

“The Way to Fry” is published by Oxmoor House. It is $22.95.

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Contact Amy Phelps at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com