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May 10, 2010

Panko Bread Crumbs ala Curmudgeonalia

You'll find myriad recipes on line for Panko Crumbs, and not a few sites which sell "authentic" Panko crumbs. They are great on casseroles, meat loaf, pork chops, chicken, fish, etc. I've played around myself and like to make them as follows. (They're much cheaper this way, and, I think, much better . . . especially with the addition at the end.)

1 medium loaf of potato bread
2 tbs. dried thyme, well crushed
2 tbs. dried basil, well crushed
1 tbs. chili powder (optional)
2 tsp. freshly, rather finely ground black pepper
¼ cup powdered pecorino Romano cheese

Air dry the bread for a day or two, but not until dry. Chop the loaf into smallish cubes and place in a Cuisinart (type of) chopper in batches. Pulse repeatedly until you have chopped the bread into very coarse crumbs. If you have more than 2 ½ to 3 cups, discard them, or adjust the volumes of additives.

Place them in a gallon size baggie and add all of the remaining ingredients. Shake to mix well, and spread on a cookie sheet (with edges.) Bake in a 325 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, stirring and turning every 2-3 minutes. Crumbs should be baked until dry, without being browned.

Store them in 2 cup plastic containers: one in the refrigerator if you plan to use them within a few weeks; the rest can be frozen indefinitely if sealed tightly, and they don't need to be thawed to use. (I use the 1 pint cheese containers from the grocery.)

If you want a particularly unusual and very tasty variant--which is the only kind I use now, except on already savory dishes--add about ¼ lb.(+) of (fat trimmed) Prosciutto, chopped very fine in the Cuisinart. Add this to the mix along with the rest before baking.

Feel free to adjust the recipe to your own taste.

Posted by Curmudgeon at May 10, 2010 3:32 PM