Monday, December 16, 2013

Delicious Bread Crumb Topping Makes a Simple Meal Special

 I have recently become addicted to bread crumbs.  Not boring bread crumbs added into things to thicken them, but reveling in the deliciousness of the crumb itself.  You can start with any base: ready made bread crumbs (Panko style is good), rye bread, white, day old pita or whole wheat bread.  I really like to use dark rye bread or Dave's Killer 21 Grain Bread.  If you want a gluten free option, you can use crumbled up potato chips instead for a decadent topping.  (Be sure to use a thicker chip, like Tim's Cascade.)

You warm up some oil, season it with maybe some salt or pepper, red pepper flakes, onion powder, or fresh garlic or a combo of all the above and then you add bread crumbs and cook until they are lightly toasted and then you can add nuts, finely chopped herbs, or even dijon mustard at the end.  It makes an elegant way to top off an otherwise simple pasta dish, cooked veggies or salad and adds flavor and crunch.  I prefer it to croutons on a salad.  Sometimes we spread them on top of cod slathered with mustard before baking.  Yesterday I topped off some sauteed kale and hard boiled eggs with bread crumbs and it was delicious.

Kale and Eggs with Bread Crumb Topping
serves 2

1 head kale, washed, leaves stripped from stems and chopped into thin strips
cooking oil, such as grapeseed or olive oil
4 organic eggs, bonus points if from your farmers' market

cooking oil
2 slices of bread (I used Dave's Killer 21 Grain bread), crusts removed and crumbed in food 
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts, finely chopped (cashews, almonds, pistachios would all work too)
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard

 Start by placing eggs in sauce pan and covering with cold water.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer 6 minutes and immediately rinse with cold water before peeling and then chopping coarsely. 

Meanwhile, heat up a little oil in your larger saute pan.  Lately we have been addicted to using grapeseed oil in all things.  It can take a higher heat and has a nice mild taste that doesn't overwhelm delicate salads like olive oil can.  Here I used a combo of grapeseed and olive oil.

Heat the oil gently and then add your red pepper flakes and freshly ground pepper.  Saute just a minute or two and take off heat for a second if it is smoking; you don't need it that hot.  Add your chopped kale and about 1/8th cup water.  Simmer gently and toss kale in oil and garlic.  You don't need to nuke the kale or anything.  We are basically just warming it up. When the kale is coated nicely with the oil and cooked down just a tiny bit--about 3 or 4 minutes, divide kale onto 2 plates and wipe out skillet. 

 Heat up a little more oil in the pan over medium heat.  (At this point my eggs were done and dunked in cold water.)  Add garlic, more seasonings like red pepper flakes, and pepper if you desire and toss for a few seconds before adding bread crumbs and nuts.  Cook, continually stirring until crumbs start to brown.  About 3-5 minutes depending how high your heat is.  At this point you can stop, but I like to add  Dijon mustard at the end.  Be sure to blend the mustard in really well as it wants to clump.  Turn off heat and leave crumbs in pan while you peel and chopped up eggs. 

You can just quarter the eggs or slice them with an egg slicer but I like how they look all crumbled up.  Divide eggs onto plated kale.  

Finally, top with crumb mixture and add additional pepper and some salt if desired.  We also have been known to put a healthy zig zag of Siracha on top.

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