December 22, 2010
Home Made Bread Crumbs:
A couple of years ago Kempy Minifie, who was running Gourmet’s test kitchen, gave me a container filled with homemade bread crumbs for Christmas. “This,” I thought to myself, “is a really dopey present. I can make my own crumbs any time I want them.” But I took them home and stored them in my freezer anyway.
One day, about a month later, I reached in and found they were gone: I had used them all up. I instantly made some more, and since then my freezer has never been without a supply of good crisp, oily, crumbs. They’re as essential as chicken stock, a wonderful fall-back ingredient that adds flavor and texture to many dishes. I use them on pasta, in casseroles, to top vegetables. I’d be grateful to anyone who offered me some.
And they’re easy to make.
Cut a good loaf of stale bread into cubes and grind it into crumbs in a blender or a food processor. (A blender is better; it gives you a more uniform texture). If your bread is not stale enough to crumb, you can dry the cubes out in a 200 degree oven for about 15 minutes before grinding.
Spread the crumbs onto a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until they are crisp and golden. Drizzle with olive oil (about a quarter cup for every 2 cups of crumbs), season with salt and allow to cool completely before putting into containers.
These will keep in the freezer almost indefinitely. Just stick them in the microwave for a few seconds to take the chill off.
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