Thursday, November 4, 2010

Greatest. Condiment. Ever.

Pan-Toasted Garlic Panko Crumbs

This stuff is ridonkulous! To add a punch of flavor, some crunchy texture and to make something simple seem like a slow-baked delight, try sprinkling a tablespoon or two of these crumbs over the following just before serving:  

  • steamed, roasted or sauteed cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus or green beans
  • any pasta dish
  • plain white rice
  • mashed potatoes
You can also use it as a breading for fish and chicken (bake or pan-fry without oil since there's already some butter in the mix). Try using it as a flavor-blasting garnish for soups and salads. Sooooo good. But the best purpose for these crumbs (and I am very reluctant to admit this) is sprinkled over mac'n'cheese (yes, the boxed stuff referred to as Kraft Dinner by my Canadian readers). I've always been partial to this fluorescent orange "food" probably because it simultaneously reminds me of being 5 and of being 19 (in a good way...really!). Now, I love it in its own right, not just for nostalgic purposes, but because whipping up a batch gives me an excuse to sprinkle on these yummy crumbs.

Melt 2tbsps butter in a pan (I use a non-stick skillet but any large pan will do the trick) over medium-low heat. Continue warming it until the butter has just begun to brown slightly (3-5 minutes after melting). While the butter is melting and browning, combine the following in a bowl:
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • several grinds of black pepper
Add the breadcrumb mixture to the butter in the pan and stir often until about half of the crumbs are the color of ground cinnamon and the rest vary between cinnamon and ground ginger. Transfer to a bowl and begin sprinkling, or, once the breadcrumbs have cooled store them in an airtight container at room temp for up to a week. Use them at room temp or put a couple of tablespoons of crumbs in a microwave safe bowl and blast 'em for 10-15 seconds to warm them before sprinkling.

 Here are the Pan-Toasted Panko Crumbs sprucing up a simple pasta toss of penne, spinach, chicken breast and tomatoes.

Want to add more flavor to your toasted panko? Try adding any of the following to the crumbs before toasting:
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp dried basil and 2 tbsps finely grated Parmesan cheese

Or, omit the salt, pepper and the garlic powder and instead add 1 tbsp of's Garlic Lovers, made by Seminole County's very own BBQ super-champ Kevin Bevington (see his very very very long long long list of BBQ wins here!).

Savor it Seminole!

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