why buy it when you can make it yourself: part breadcrumbs

What a catch, right? Art scandals yesterday, breadcrumbs today. We’re certainly on the up and up! And to be honest, I photographed this recipe over a month ago (A! Month!) but shelved it because I deemed it too boring to talk about. Breadcrumbs don’t exactly cultivate groupies.

Aren’t you so interested now?

But then I started thinking about all the recipes made all the more scrumptious for the addition of breadcrumbs. Decidedly not boring recipes, fun recipes, and the thought of homemade mac and cheese with a crispy breadcrumb topping, of spaghetti tangled around a nest of oven-baked tomatoes and breadcrumbs, of all those lovely chicken breasts dredged in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, then fried and topped with anything from gravy to an arugula salad — and, moreover, the thought that you, dear reader, might not know how to make the breadcrumbs for such recipes was too much to bear.

So I decided to get over myself and share this recipe with you. The breadcrumbs, sure, they’re not going to headline your next party. But just think of them as your wingman. Your assist. They’re gonna take you to the top. Bonus: they keep for months in the freezer, and you can dress them up (a squeeze of lemon, some chopped fresh herbs, a shake of smoked paprika) however you wish.

Baked Breadcrumbs
Inspired by Canal House Cooking, vol. 1

  • 4 cups stale sandwich bread, whizzed into crumbs with a food processor or blender, or torn up by hand (I save the extra mini-buns from when we make sliders, and make the stragglers into breadcrumbs every couple months)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • any additional seasonings, optional: lemon zest, fresh herbs, spices…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter and olive oil together in a small saucepan (or microwave). Put the breadcrumbs in a large bowl and pour the butter and oil over top. Season with salt and pepper and toss together until evenly coated. Spread the breadcrumbs into an even layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown, 10-15 minutes.

When cooled, use immediately or store in the freezer. They will last several months!

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