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Crumbs Yo!

Updated February 23, 2016
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This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Toasted breadcrumbs are one of my cooking secrets: I toss them in everything. They just make stuff taste better–they give everything a little bit of crunch, from salads to pastas (yes, that’s right: pastas. This ain’t yer Chef Boyardee supersoft pasta, kids). My crew and I named these breadcrumbs Crumbs Yo! because we’re always yelling to each other in the kitchen, “Pass me some crumbs, yo!” This recipe is incredibly easy, but the simple move of toasting the breadcrumbs in olive oil makes them taste exponentially better than just plain old ordinary breadcrumbs. You can also flavor Crumbs Yo! with black pepper, herbs, grated citrus zest, grated cheese, bits of bacon or pancetta … trust your instincts about the flavor profile you want to add to that extra crunch. I’ve given you the start-to-finish recipe here, but if you don’t have day-old bread sitting around, panko breadcrumbs will work just as well.

Optional:You can use anyone or any combination of these ingredients (or none at all) to flavor the Crumbs Yo! I’ll leave it up to the inner chef in you.



1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (thyme or rosemary)

zest of 1 lemon or orange

1 teaspoon ground fennel seed or other spice

¼ cup bacon or pancetta (2 slices), diced

a pinch of red pepper flakes

a pinch of dried oregano

Timing: Superquick; no more than ½ hour if you’re making homemade crumbs; about 6 minutes if you use panko crumbs

Makes1 cup

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 30 minutes

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, lactose-free, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Taste and Texturecrisp, crunchy

Type of DishCondiments

Ingredients

  • 5 slices of 1- or 2-day-old bread
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (homemade or panko)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions

To make the breadcrumbs:

Preheat the oven to 300°.

Cut the bread (including crusts) into 2-inch chunks and put the chunks on a baking tray. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the bread is thoroughly dried out.

3. Let the bread cool slightly–just enough to handle. Pulse the bread in a food processor until it is reduced to coarse crumbs.

To make the crumbs Yo!:

In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and toast the breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper until golden brown, about 4 minutes. If you’re flavoring your crumbs (see Notes), toss your flavoring(s) of choice in the pan in the last minute of cooking.

Spread the Crumbs Yo! on a plate to cool. They’ll will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge, or for a long time in the freezer.

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