One night a few weeks ago I forgot to put our leftover baguette in a plastic bag, and the next day discovered how delicious it is to make my own breadcrumbs. Literally, it is as easy as this: break the stale bread apart into chunks and plop them in the blender or food processor. I'll never buy breadcrumbs again, these are so much tastier. And stale bread has now become something to look forward to.
I've used my own breadcrumbs several times now, once to make meatballs, but mostly to make my 2 year old daughter one of her favorite things to eat - breaded and fried chicken thighs. The other night I decided that it was time to use homemade breadcrumbs to make dinner for BrooklynLady. I swapped a couple of Flying Pigs Farm pork cutlets for the chicken thighs. Pounded them tender and thin between two pieces of wax paper and put them in a mixture of milk and egg to soak. I seasoned the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper, grated Pecorino and Parmesan cheeses, and a large three-fingered pinch of dried oregano.
I went with broccoli rabe as a side dish. This very healthy bitter green smells and tastes much better if you very quickly submerge it in a pot of boiling water before cooking it. I then cooked it in good olive oil, coarsely chopped garlic, dried red chili flakes, and a splash of Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce). I used to use anchovy fillets and melt them slowly into the hot olive oil, but I couldn't ever get them to fully melt, and this tastes just as good.
2006 Domaine Diochon Moulin-à-Vent Vieilles Vignes, $22, Kermit Lynch Imports. I thought I'd entirely missed out on this wine in 2006, but I found two stores in Brooklyn recently that carry it - Fermented Grapes on Vanderbilt Avenue, and Windsor Wine Shop on Prospect Park West. It's drinking beautifully right now, such a beautiful Beaujolais. Freshness and purity on the nose, showing raspberry coulis, herbs, and iron magnet-minerals. The palate still has some grip - this wine will most definitely improve with 3-5 in the cellar, but it is smooth and approachable now, and entirely delicious with ripe fruit and snappy acidity. I'll make a concerted effort to hold onto my remaining two bottles for a few years to let them develop, but I really cannot promise anything.
Want to know something funny? I was poking around some of my oldest posts the other day and I found something almost exactly like this one, only with store bought breadcrumbs and a far lesser Beaujolais. Things change, and stay exactly the same. So I guess you should check back in two years - maybe by then I will have some sort of new insights into pork cutlets and Beaujolais.