The Bread Crumb Diaries Part I ($1.25/Serving)

I was cleaning my kitchen today and I noticed my cutting board was covered with Bread Crumbs from a loaf of sourdough I had sliced up earlier. As I began to scrape the crumbs into the garbage, I had a realization: Breadcrumbs are useful and should be treated with respect. Hanzel and Gretel certainly wouldn’t have thought of throwing their breadcrumbs away, especially if they were working on a blog about sustainable eating. So with a small bag of breadcrumbs now in the fridge, I’d like to see how many dishes can benefit from a handful or two of breadcrumbs.

Italian vegetable dishes often use breadcrumbs to give them a bit more texture. The American version may be mushrooms stuffed with a huge amount of breading but there is a more moderate (and tastier) way to do it. Start by melting a couple teaspoons of butter from in a skillet and then add a handful of crumbs. Turn the heat to medium/high or so and watch for the breadcrumbs to become toasty. When they start to color a little bit, remove them from the pan and saute whatever greens you have around. I have winter kale tonight (delicious) but you could use almost any leafy veggie. To be honest, I’m more excited to add breadcrumbs to spring and summer veggie dishes but we’ll come back to that in a couple months. For now, enjoy your kale and try not to throw too many yummy things away as I almost did.

Sauteed Kale with Toasted Breadcrumbs

Heat 2 teaspoons of butter or olive oil in a skillet and add a small handful of breadcrumbs

Add extra fat if mixture looks too dry

When crumbs start to color, remove from pan.

Add a drizzle of olive oil and 2 cups of chopped kale. Sautee for 3 minutes or so.

Salt and pepper to taste, add a splash of white wine and cover for 2 minutes or so.

Add toasted crumbs and toss with the kale.

Taste again. This might be a good place to add splash of vinegar, some extra wine, or a few shavings of local, firm, cheese.

Eat well.

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