Grate Toast With A Microplane For Quick And Easy Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are a powerhouse in the kitchen. Along with delivering toasty flavor, they work wonders for texture. The unsung heroes to bind juicy meatballs and bean burgers, breadcrumbs are revered for coating crispy cutlets, calamari, and any host of fried foods. Their crunchiness also makes them a fantastic topping for creamy casseroles and gratin. They can even jazz up humble dishes like fried eggs, spaghetti aglio e olio, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Being the stellar ingredient that it is, we recommend incorporating a dusting into recipes any way you can and using whatever means necessary to get there. Enter microplanes and toast.

If your pantry is currently void of breadcrumbs, whipping them up from scratch is far from complicated or time-consuming. Plus, homemade crumbs just taste better. If there's a loaf of bread that's been taking up space on your kitchen counter for long enough that it's lost its spring, toast it up. At which point, you can (and should) run it over a microplane to make the best breadcrumbs you've ever had.

If you're wondering why exactly you should be using a microplane, the answer is simple. It's the ideal tool for when you want to make a smaller quantity of crumbs. Rather than pull out the food processor, a microplane is just as effective. Additionally, unlike a box grater, a microplane produces finer and more evenly grated breadcrumbs thanks to its minuscule grating holes.

A guide to making the best microplane breadcrumbs

Any piece of bread can be considered toast if it's undergone the Maillard reaction. That means we give you full rein to interpret "toast" however you'd like. Whether it's white bread, sourdough, ciabatta, or a baguette, slice a piece or two — crust and all, if you want better color and flavor — and pop them in a toaster or the oven to brown. Imparting a slight nuttiness, toasting will also fully dry the bread and make it easier to drag across the microplane.

After the slices have cooled and hardened, run them back and forth over a microplane. In mere minutes, you'll be left with a mountain of crumbs that can then be put to use in all sorts of ways. Although with such a powdery product, these breadcrumbs are especially suited for food that's destined to be fried like a crispy pork schnitzel.

Want more complexity? To effortlessly enhance superfine crumbs, toss them with spices like garlic powder, ground cumin, or jerk seasoning before using. Otherwise, you can add textural variety by combining crumbs with chopped walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest, fresh rosemary, or a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano.