Using breadcrumbs for dinner

Went to a U3A meeting this morning on Science. One of our number talked about Astronomy. We discussed the immense distances involved and moved on to the possibility of life elsewhere. The presenter is a chemist, so we had a very interesting discussion around why scientists look for planets with water and oxygen. It boils down to the fact that life is almost certainly going to be carbon based, as carbon is the only substance they know of that can form the complicated molecules necessary.

I always come away from those meetings buzzing.

We are always treated to lovely coffee and something interesting to nibble. Today the nibble was a little pastry tartlet filled with leftover breadcrumbs, a little onion and a smidgen of anchovy. It was divine!

I asked about the recipe and P sent me an email with some ideas in. Recent thoughts and guest posts have been revolving around the idea of minimising waste. And as bread is the number one thing that is wasted, I am quite excited about this.

This is what P said

Now to tarts using breadcrumbs;

· It doesn’t matter how stale they are or what sort

· Easiest way of making them is put the torn up bread in a liquidiser

· You can store them in the freezer with or without any flavourings you might have added e.g. dried mixed herbs, chopped up chives, chopped up nasturtium leaves, chopped up wild garlic

As to “recipes”

· You need something to bind the breadcrumbs together before you put them in a tart. Ideas from the store cupboard might be an egg (beaten) and/or some mild mustard e.g. whole grain

· Another useful binder is butter. You could soften some chopped up onion or spring onion in butter, then lob the breadcrumbs in. You could season the mix with salt, pepper and any combination of mixed herbs, mustard, capers, chopped up gherkin, chopped up anchovy fillets or paste, tomato paste, any tinned fish, sweetcorn or bacon/ham bits, which you have cooked with the onion.

· What you looking to achieve is a moist but non runny mix like a conventional stuffing.

· Fill pastry tarts or cases with your chosen mix, add some grated cheese and put in the middle of an oven (about 180c) to cook slowly for about 20 minutes.

Instead of breadcrumbs you could use any left-over mashed potato flavoured with any of the ingredients mentioned above.

Lots of ideas occur here on how to use this. I am thinking of a main meal dish here rather than the little tartlets we had. I am thinking of lots of vegetables with a bit of flavour from bacon, anchovy, Parmesan, garlic, maybe some spices, that kind of thing. We’d need to add a few beans or lentils to get the protein in there, or it would be too carby as a meal.

I’m going to try one in the next few days, so something like very fine chopped carrot, onion, mushroom, garlic, either a handful of beans or some seitan, which should arrive soon, plus the breadcrumbs. I’ll bake it in a pastry case, like a quiche.

Do you do anything like this already? What would you/do you put in one?

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Katherine

    As there are so many things to do with breadcrumbs, the five things are fairly broad categories: to coat – meat, fish and croquettes; to absorb other flavours and ingredients especially fat – for example in stuffing, meatballs and Christmas pudding; to thicken soups, sauces and stews – thus turning Lesley’s sardine and cream cheese pasta sauce into more of a pate consistency for example; to top -for example anything covered in white sauce and finally, to underlay. I do recommend putting very dry breadcrumbs on your greased tin before putting in the pizza dough. It makes the crust crisp. Underlaying would also include Paula’s jam tart above. I once did a similar thing with a home made lemon curd tart. It was very well received, but it seemed a bit of a waste to make lemon curd and then turn it into cake by adding bread crumbs, but don’t let that put you off if you have a good source of lemon curd.

    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/31/nigel-slater-breadcrumb-recipes
    More exciting recipes
    Katherine

  2. Lesley

    Katherine – that sounds extremely yummy ! Look forward to seeing your 5 ideas

  3. Lesley

    I felt much the same Sue – how could I have not thought of this before!

  4. Katherine

    This is interesting. Yesterday I mashed up a tin of sardines in oil with four tablespoons of breadcrumbs and then spread it over four slices of bread that I had toasted on the other side. I toasted the bread with the sardine mixture on it and then chopped up a hard boiled egg and spread this over the sardine topping and then added some basil. This was quite filling between two. Being quite Mediterranean, it might translate into a pizza or perhaps just a starter: tostini alla Portuguesa. I was also thinking of posting five things to do with breadcrumbs. I’ll do that later.

  5. Sue

    What a brilliant idea. I’ve never thought to make savoury tarts with breadcrumbs ….. doh!!

    You’ve got me buzzing with ideas now, there are so many different combinations of flavours possible with such a cheap ingredient.

  6. Lesley

    Mum always put breadcrumbs in treacle tarts, which were lovely. Unfortunately I have to fight with my sweet tooth, I don’t find

      anything

    too sweet!
    If I can manage to keep away from sweet things, I’m alright. But a little bit just makes me want a lot

  7. Paula Higgleton-Wood

    Hi Lesley, I’ve always added a lot of breadcrumbs to jam tarts, large ones of about 4-6 servings each. It pads them out so they are more filling, makes them a bit less sweet and turns them into a substantial and more tasty pudding with a bit of custard. Don’t have to serve such big main courses then. Husband loves them. I still find them a bit too sweet for my taste, I definitely have a savoury tooth not a sweet one, but they are much less sickly than a pain jam tart. I sometimes put the crimes in the pastry case with jam on top which makes a nice chewy later on the bottom or sometimes put jam in bottom with crumbs on top which makes a nice crispy topping. Hope you enjoy it.

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