Why You Should Stop Buying Breadcrumbs
Originally published June 2018
What is it about holiday Mondays that make the rest of the week move at a snail's pace? Time has a habit of moving too slow, and too fast simultaneously. Part of the elongated feeling to the week is related to the final school countdown. Only four more days to go. Four and a half really, but that last half day is barely three hours.
I’ve been meaning to chat here about breadcrumbs for months. I know, “really, breadcrumbs, Jennie?” Part of cooking from scratch successfully is thinking a few steps ahead. That idea is relative to frugality and sustainability, too. Little bits of bread leftover on the board, not people’s plates, seem inconsequential in the moment. Cobbling them together over a few days, or even weeks, they add up to savings not just for the environment, but also for your grocery bottom line.
My mother used to hoard old loaves of bread, and go on marathon grating sessions to make her homemade breadcrumbs. Yes, she grated them by hand, and while I agree it makes for superb, fine breadcrumbs, it makes a mess of not just the table, but basically every square inch of area within a few feet of where you’re grating. Needless to say, the food processor is my tool of choice when it comes to pulverizing stale bread into crumbs.
I find smaller dried out pieces of bread grind up more uniformly in my Cuisinart, so I tend to cut or tear any bread left from the day into small cubes. Setting them in a bowl on the stovetop allows them to dry out evenly, and quickly from the radiant heat when using the oven or stovetop.
Taking things one step further, and seasoning my breadcrumbs, not only saves money—they taste better. Way better. I’m not sharing an official recipe here because that seems silly since we’re talking about breadcrumbs. Take this post as friendly advice, and make some mental notes, kind of like neighbors swapping cooking secrets, standing tippy-toed over the backyard fence.
So, what goes into my seasoning? Fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley, grated fresh garlic, and freshly grated Pecorino locatelli cheese. Tempted as you might be to use dried herbs or powdered garlic, I strongly encourage using fresh. Nothing can compare to the flavor, is my feeling. I tend to mix a big batch of these Homemade Italian Breadcrumbs, so I’m one step closer to making dinner.
I usually store them in the fridge in a glass container, but also confess to keeping them in a cool dry place, like the basement when fridge space is scarce. Over time the parsley and garlic dry out, and I’ve never had an issue with the cheese preserving in them, too.
You’re probably wondering about quantities for each seasoning ingredient. I don’t think I’ve once ever measured them out. Everything goes in by sight, so add according to your own tastes. Dislike garlic? Don’t use it. Looking to keep them vegan? Use this recipe for vegan parmesan cheese. Want a smoky taste? Add some chipotle or smoked paprika.
That’s certainly more than I ever thought I’d write about breadcrumbs. I’m off now to finish up a few work things, and then scoot to school to pick up. Hope everyone had a good week!
Most recipes linked in this post are available only to paid subscribers. Join the hundreds of subscribers now for only $5/month or $30/year (that’s six months free!).
Did you find a typo? Thanks for your eagle-eye! I’m a one-woman business here, so sometimes typos and editing errors slip through regardless of how many times I proofread recipes and posts. Feel free to leave a comment and I will correct it as soon as possible.