There isn't always day-old bread around when you need crumbs for chicken cutlets or fish fillets. When you do have stale bread, make a few seasoned blends and freeze them. We've come up with four breadcrumb mixes -- lemon and sage, almond and garam masala, coconut and lime, and Parmesan and oregano -- each requiring a half pound of bread.
Each of these recipes yields about two and a quarter cups breadcrumbs. Dip chicken cutlets or fish fillets in flour, next in beaten eggs, and then in seasoned breadcrumbs. Freeze unused breadcrumbs in a resealable plastic bag up to one month.
1 loaf (8 ounces) day-old bread, crusts removed and bread cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
5 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
Working in two batches, pulse bread cubes in a food processor to fine crumbs. Stir together breadcrumbs, zest, and sage. Stir in the salt, and season breadcrumbs with pepper.
Almond and Garam Masala Breadcrumbs
Follow recipe for Lemon-Sage Breadcrumbs, using 1/2 cup chopped, toasted sliced almonds and 2 teaspoons garam masala in place of zest and sage.
Follow recipe for Lemon-Sage Breadcrumbs, using 1/2 cup toasted, unsweetened shredded coconut, 2 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest (2 to 3 limes), and 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper in place of lemon zest and sage.
Follow recipe for Lemon-Sage Breadcrumbs, using 3 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried) and 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese in place of zest and sage. Decrease salt to 1 teaspoon.