Ina Garten's Flavored Breadcrumbs Are An Easy Texture Boost

Breadcrumbs are for more than just leaving a trail to find your way home. These crumbly bits of bread can be a texture boost for countless recipes, and Ina Garten has just the flavor enhancers to add to this cooking staple. The store-bought is just fine chef is not a huge fan of breadcrumbs that come in a canister. Instead, Garten tells Food Network she likes to make her own version of this pantry go-to because "store-bought breadcrumbs are dry and (homemade) have much more flavor and much more crunch."

On her website, she wrote, "For fresh breadcrumbs, I start with a loaf of crusty white or sourdough bread, remove the crust, and chop the bread in a food processor until it's the size of large breadcrumbs." But to give these crumbs an aromatic and herby lift, Garten stated during an episode of "Barefoot Contessa" that she adds basil and garlic, along with some salt and a touch of olive oil to "moisten" the breadcrumbs. "It just gives it nice texture," she explains.

Garten uses her breadcrumbs to top slices of baked eggplant parmesan, but they are the perfect add-in for various recipes whether you are rolling an ingredient in them to fry or using them as a filler.  

Play with the flavor

Breadcrumbs make for the perfect crispy coating for food that tastes delicious fried or baked. They can be used to thicken sauces or soups or add a little bit of a grainy taste to just about any recipe you might be cooking up. If you are making meatballs, breadcrumbs can serve as a binder, absorbing moisture, creating a firmer texture, and helping the meatball to keep its shape. Of course, Garten's flavorful breadcrumbs aren't limited to these roles. You can use them as a crunchy topping on your next macaroni and cheese or sprinkle them on your scallop potatoes to create a crispy, golden-brown crust.

Garten's version of these also adds a layer of flavor, and while she uses garlic, basil, olive oil, and salt as her core ingredients, she isn't afraid to customize her breadcrumbs based on what she is making. To compliment her mussels, per Food Network, she creates a breadcrumb that includes lemon juice, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts and uses them as a finishing flourish that is integral to the overall taste. But you shouldn't stop there. You could just as easily turn your breadcrumbs into a dessert topping using sugar and cinnamon.