Croutons are so yesterday. According to to Evan Kleiman and Russ Parsons on this past week's episode of Good Food, buttery and crunchy breadcrumbs are totally where it's at.
These two were as giddy as school kids as they described tossing breadcrumbs into green salads. In Kleiman's words, "Sometimes people have problems with breadcrumbs: they're too big or they're too hard. If you have breadcrumbs, then it's like...every mouthful of salad gets just enough."
I can definitely see this working. You would toss the breadcrumbs into the salad at the last second before serving, so they stay crunchy. And the dressing would help the crumbs cling to each individual leaf rather than falling to the bottom like croutons. It's almost like breading for your salad. I love it!
Parsons also explains that when you're making the breadcrumbs, you actually want crumbs of all different sizes so you get a variety of textures. This is one place you don't want uniformity. He makes his breadcrumbs on the stove top by heating a glug of olive oil with a clove of garlic, then letting the crumbs toast until golden and fragrant.
Hear their effusive descriptions of salads with breadcrumbs for yourself and get many more ideas for using breadcrumbs in your cooking:
• Cooking with Breadcrumbs with Russ Parsons on Good Food (airdate: 6/4/11)
Think you'll try breadcrumbs on your next salad?
Related: Salad Upgrade! Make Quick Garlic Croutons in the Toaster
(Images: BLT Salad from Liz Vidyarthi and Breadcrumbs from Elizabeth Passarella)