Considering that they’re made from stale bread, it makes sense that bread crumbs are also known as the “poor man’s Parmesan”. As writer Catherine Lamb wrote on our site a few years ago, “It seems Parmesan has long been an expensive commodity, so when Italians couldn't (or wouldn't) fork over enough to buy some, they'd sprinkle oily, toasted breadcrumbs over their pasta dishes. Smart, right?”
Very. So smart, in fact, that I’ve taken to sprinkling pan-fried bread crumbs on a lot more than pasta. I rain them on blanched vegetables, like asparagus, and raw salads, and slow-roasted salmon, and, really, anything that could use some added flavor and texture. (If you think about this for a minute, it turns out to be: most things.)
But my favorite canvas for bread crumbs right now is scrambled eggs.
You already know that scrambled eggs and toast get along. Scrambled eggs are soft, toast is crunchy, both are buttery. They complete each other. And the same is true here, even though, from afar, the dish is unrecognizable.
We’re still scrambling the eggs—but instead of toasting the toast, we’re going to pan-fry it. I start with English muffins, because English muffins are my ride-or-die, but you do you. Sourdough, whole-wheat, rye, whatever. Anything works. Just blitz the bread into fine-as-can-be crumbs (a food processor makes this easy), then crisp these up in a heavily buttered nonstick skillet.
If eating scrambled eggs and toast is fun, then this is more fun. While you could pour all the bread crumbs on top in one go, I love adding more and more as I eat, just like I do with Parmesan.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.