Nut Allergy? Alternative "Nut" Crust for Fish and Meats

Pork chops and tender fish fillets with a crust of finely chopped nuts is one of our favorite ways to enjoy those foods. We'd hate to deprive our nut-allergic friends of this singular taste and texture experience!

Here's a nut-less crust idea we recently stumbled upon that's so simple, we can't believe we haven't thought of it before:

In any recipe calling for ground nuts to use in a crust coating, simply replace the nuts with panko crumbs.

Panko crumbs are airier and crisper than most other kinds of bread crumbs, even home-made. This gives foods a satisfying crunch with every bite--not unlike finely ground nuts.

We've been using panko crumbs for years in our gratins, tempura, turkey stuffing, and the like, though usually just when the recipe actually calls it. Using this pantry staple as a substitute for nuts in some of our savory dishes feels like a revelation!

To use in a "nut" crust, mix the panko crumbs with whatever herbs called for (or your own combination!), and apply the coating to the meat as directed in the recipe.

Since the panko will cook even faster than nuts, sear the meat at a lower temperature than you normally would and then finish cooking in the oven.

We can also see ourselves using this substitution when we're in the mood for something lighter or don't feel like chopping a bunch of nuts.

What about you?

Related: Good Question: What Can I Substitute for Dijon Mustard?

(Image: Flickr member thebittenword.com licensed under Creative Commons)