Monday, May 9, 2011

Toasted Almond Breadcrumbs

I’ve mentioned these toasted breadcrumbs in a few recent recipes, like the fresh pea soup and asparagus and lemon risotto. They are so delicious, salty, crunchy, and just a little rich; they are an excellent substitution to parmesan cheese.

I’m a little wary of vegan cheese. It is not quite the right texture, color, or flavor, and while great for a first bite, it doesn’t really hold up for a whole pizza. As such, I have generally avoided non dairy cheddars and parmesans. But, I miss that final complementary touch on top of soups and pastas. Rather than mess about with dissatisfying vegan substitutes, I am always happier cooking outside the box. The sprinkling of parmesan on pasta or soup is salty with a little fat. Obviously, the texture of breadcrumbs is different from cheese, but this topping fulfills a similar function. I’m pretty much putting them on everything, so don’t hold back!

Toasted Almond Breadcrumbs

1/4 cup raw almonds
1 slice whole wheat bread (about 1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Add the bread, almonds, and garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are in small crumbs. Add the breadcrumbs to a small skillet with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the bread crumbs are brown and toasty, about 7 to 10 minutes. Use immediately, or store in a tupperware container, and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

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