What does it mean to dredge?
To dredge means to coat food that's about to be fried or sautéed in a protective layer of bread crumbs, flour or cornmeal.
Dredging food first creates a barrier that allows it to cook without sticking and to develop a crispy crust while keeping whatever is inside -- like chicken, for example -- nice and moist. After you dredge your chicken leg or pork chop in flour, be sure to shake off the excess so that it doesn't burn in the pan.
Dredging is also used to "bread" meat, fish or vegetables in a thicker outward coating -- first in flour, then in beaten egg, and finally in bread crumbs or cornmeal -- before frying.