I’m as guilty as anyone, and probably more so than most. I buzz along, testing recipes nearly every day, and things get shoved to the back of the fridge or the bottom of the veggie drawer and I forget about them.
Out of sight and all of that.
I try to do what I can, like making stock out of veggie scraps and chicken bones…likewise, when I see a baguette heading towards the stale side of life, I try to do something with it before it gets rock hard, like make croutons…or sometimes I’ll just whiz the bread into plain breadcrumbs in the food processor and keep them in a bag in the freezer. And you may certainly do that.
But if you completely forget about that scrap of an old baguette that you bought the week before and are about to just toss it into la poubelle, please read on. What can happen to that almost-trash is nothing short of magic. Delicious alchemy.
A little olive oil, salt and pepper, and these little crumbs turn into crunchy bits of deliciousness to be sprinkled on top of salads, soups, pastas, or anything else you can imagine. Crunchy and herby, they are just what so many things need to take them beyond mundane…and into magnificent.
Here’s the recipe. I’m on my way to buy another baguette right now, and I hope I forget about it in a few days so I can make some more.
Crunchy Herby Breadcrumbs
This recipe actually works best and easiest with a baguette that’s about a week old…one far beyond human consumption and probably too hard for the dog to chew on, too.
- 1 baguette so stale it’ll break your teeth
- olive oil
- sea salt and pepper
- chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, basil, parsley
1. Turn on the faucet. Hold the bread underneath cold running water till you can break it into 2-inch/5 cm pieces, or thereabouts. Toss the pieces into your food processor and pulse until you have lots of lovely, wet crumbs.
2. Pour these breadcrumbs into your skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Let them cook and dry out, stirring as needed. If you want to make crunchy, savory breadcrumbs, continue on to the next step. If you want plain breadcrumbs, remove these from the heat when they’re dry.
3. Drizzle a little olive oil into your skillet, and stir the crumbs around so they all get a little bit of the oil. Lightly sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes or so, or until the breadcrumbs are crunchy. Toss with the fresh herbs. Use right away or save ‘em in a plastic bag in your freezer.