I love this title, don’t you?
This is a story of the lowly breadcrumb. Most of us will attest to throwing out our share of old bread. It’s what we do. Bread is readily available and inexpensive compared to most foods we buy. In the past bread was handcrafted at home and therefore it was precious. Time had to be spent making this simple yet revered food. We’re not suggesting that you start baking bread so you can have breadcrumbs, rather we suggest that you can make something special out of an otherwise throw-away ingredient.
Most of us will make a casserole at some point in our culinary lives and seasoned breadcrumbs can add a crisp, tasty topping that sends the ordinary to the stars. In southern Italy breadcrumbs were used by peasants in place of the heavenly Parmesan that was only produced in the north of the country. Toasted breadcrumbs, seasoned with fresh herbs have been scattered over pasta for centuries.
We love to take our leftover bread and do two things that make us look like culinary wizards. First is our recipe for Seasoned Breadcrumbs and the other is our Garlic Croutons.
We do not use sandwich bread for this recipe. We always incorporate good baguette, crusty rolls, Pita, Italian bread and so forth into our everyday meals. This is the type of bread that we like. We then allow it to dry on the counter overnight before running it through the food processor. Processed white sandwich bread is not a good option here.
Two Food Nuts “Crummy Topping”:
- Process your bread cubes into a small crumb in the food processor but not a powder. Place the crumbs into a mixing bowl and add:
Makes two cups of “Crummy Topping”
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and grated
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- grated peel of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp grated pepper
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- A combination of herbs of your choice: Thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, flat leaf parsley (chopped finely) About a 1/4 cup of freshly minced herbs
- If you do not have fresh herbs, this recipe does very well with a good dried Herb du Provence or your own blend of rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil. Use 2 Tbsp only.
Blend the ingredients together and incorporate well. We store our crumbs in a freezer bag so they’re on hand when we need them. You can certainly make more crumbs if you have more bread or as we often do, buy a nice loaf of crusty bread for the sole purpose of making the crumbs or croutons. This way they can be pulled from the freezer and used immediately.
Here we have used them to top some luscious tomato halves. They are baked in the oven but can be cooked on the BBQ as a side dish to any meal. Just place them in an oven proof or foil dish. You can garnish a casserole with this topping as well.
Two Food Nuts Seasoned Croutons:
We love these Croutons with a good Ceasar salad. They’re particularly good when made with Portuguese buns. They come out light as air and the end result is crisp outside but soft inside. Mmmmm.
Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes
Sprinkle lightly with dried garlic power
Place bread cubes into a non-stick pan and drizzle some good olive oil over the cubes. Just enough to moisten then. Now toast in the pan over medium high heat. Stir gently until they are golden brown. Stay focused, because one minute they are white then they’re done. It’s almost impossible not to eat them at this point, so always make a few extra for the chef.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the first of our “Waste Not, Want Not” blogs. If so, tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter by sharing this post and don’t forget to leave us a comment about the post.