Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Zia Anna's Breadcrumbs

My Zia Anna was the best cook in the family (I'd like to think that I've moved up in rank.) Every single time I went to Cambridge to visit, she had a plate of cold chicken cutlets in the fridge, just for me to take on my trip home... they never made it as far as the I-90 onramp. Hell, sometimes they didn't make it out of the driveway!

The instructions are a bit simple, but crucial. They were dictated over the phone to me by Zia and I guarantee you that you'll never buy prepackaged Italian breadcrumbs from the store ever again (unless you're really in a pinch, and then you'll complain how they taste like sawdust.)

Zia Anna's Breadcrumbs

3 cups homemade breadcrumbs made from stale Italian or French bread
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup minced flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup fresh garlic, minced fine
1 cup to 1 1/2 cups finely grated Reggio Parmigiano cheese

Chuck all of the above ingredients into the food processor until everything is very well blended. Taste the mixture: You should be able to taste the cheese and spicy garlic flavor very well (if not, add more of each until your mouth tastes of garlic and cheese.) Store in the freezer.

Like I said, quite easy to make, but you do have to taste it to make sure the flavor is coming through and hitting you in the face like an errantly thrown shoe. I make so much at a time that I keep one in one of those plastic cereal containers in the fridge, and a few ziploc bags in the freezer. Soon, you'll find yourself using them for everything... even tofu.

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