• Delicious polpette meatballs (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson
There’s plenty of tasty options for when your crusty bread stick becomes a little too crusty.
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15 Aug 2017 - 11:36 AM  UPDATED 22 Jul 2019 - 5:42 PM

DIY your breadcrumbs

It sounds fancy, but it’s nothing more than blitzing, toasting and seasoning old bread. Use it as a crumb on meat (like this healthy chicken schnitzel), fish, squid, or in this spiced Portuguese black bean, chorizo and kale salad.

Liven up your dishes with crispy bits.

…then, make meatballs!

Breadcrumbs are the perfect binding agent in traditional Italian meatballs. Simply pulse with garlic, onion, eggs, parmesan, parsley and seasoning for a quick DIY army of flavour-packed balls.

Turn them into a knockout panzanella

Otherwise known as stale bread salad (not really, but the day-old bread is arguably the hero here), panzanella is living proof of the resourcefulness of Italians in the kitchen. That’s how the traditional Tuscan salad was born, with the stale bread toasted and lifted with fresh tomatoes, oil and herbs.

Let it soak up those chicken juices

When you're making something like the Peruvian roast chicken below, cube your leftover baguette and arrange them around your chook in the pan, so that it soaks up all those lovely juices while it roasts. Then, you can blitz this, add herbs and seasoning and turn it into a cheat’s stuffing,

Here's a handy shortcut to try.

Get stuffing!

Breadcrumbs are just as good on the outer as the are on the inside. Use your freshly-made crumbs to make these stuffed Italian-style sardines or crisp and golden fried olives!

Croutons for days

I know what you’re thinking: croutons were so noughties. But there’s more to these crunchy little puffs of stale bread than a Caesar salad accompaniment. Take this slow roasted tomato and capsicum soup or this quick spaghetti with tuna, parsley and lemon, for instance.

Spaghetti with tuna, croutons and parsley

Make the most passed about pass-abouts

Crostini are a great use of stale baguettes. The French bread sticks in particular are the optimum size for these handheld morsels that can be topped with smoked trout, salmon, or salt cod

Use it to thicken soup

Step away from the flour – breadcrumbs give rustic body to wintry soups like, this Italian ribollita. It’s a peasant dish, meaning it’s light on the purse pocket and heavy on flavour. 

Paul's making baguettes on River Cottage Australia for a big community feast. Monday 22 July 6.30pm, on SBS Food channel 33 then on SBS On Demand.

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