Articles / It's One Of The Most Useful Ingredients In The Kitchen…

It's One Of The Most Useful Ingredients In The Kitchen…

Published March 17, 2020

If you like eating bread, or are obsessed with making it (as I am), you’re going to have leftovers. Heels, scraps, half loaves, forgotten slices; these are more or less inevitable. I know people who throw this stuff out (or compost it), which is totally unnecessary.

With minimal time and effort, leftover bread can (and should) be transformed into two indispensable ingredients: bread crumbs and croutons. I don’t need to tell you how useful and versatile those things are, but I will anyway.

Bread crumbs, of course, are the star of stuffing, and an essential binder for things like meatloaf; they can add incredible texture to pastas (try fried bread crumbs with this linguine with clams), gratins (like baked eggs with onions and cheese), and all sorts of cooked vegetables (like this cauliflower salad with olives and bread crumbs); they’re the crunchy coating for panfried cheese and this lighting fast chicken parm. Croutons can add heft and crunch to countless salads and soups: Warm spinach salad with bacon and eggs, onion soup, and minestrone, to name only a few.

I know you can buy decent bread crumbs and croutons at the store, but they’re not as good as homemade, and they’re a needless expense if you already have perfectly good bread at home.

Below are the recipes I use: one for crumbs and one for croutons, with plenty of variations for each. To me, they’re no less essential than something like vinaigrette (which I keep in my fridge at all times). If you have them, you’ll use them, and your cooking will be that much better because of it.

Hang in there, and see you Friday (you can probably collect a decent amount of bread scraps by then).