If you're following blogs or have ever thought about sharing your own kitchen experiences with the world, you probably have an opinion or two about what is "blogworthy" and what isn't. Does the world really need a step-by-step tutorial on how to soft-boil an egg? In my most dreaded blog-nightmare, such a post would probably be accompanied by matching pictures of a pot on a dirty stove, taken in 15-second intervals, always from the same lousy angle, and finish with a proud foodblog owner consuming said egg, the (perfectly soft, granted) yolk dribbling down his/her double chin.
I tend to have long and heated arguments with myself on what to and what not to publish, my food-splattered notebook is full of recipes that might be very worth sharing, but lack a decent picture to accompany it, or I have (heaven forbid!) as happens more and more lately, dispensed with the task of weighing everything dutifully as I cook and writing it down, making it impossible to provide you with a reliable recipe. Writing about a breadcrumb crust would be one of the instances where I'd argue that everybody has their way and knows how to do it and nobody would really be interested in reading about it. (The one exception being my invaluable guide Wiener Schnitzel for Dummies, the recipe for which was recently blatantly stolen by a Sydney-based TV channel, go figure! I mean, do they really need to pilfer the web for such simple recipes???)
Until now. I have been eating Schnitzel all my life, I have breaded mushrooms, cheese, chicken, etc in very much the same way and never thought twice about it. I might even sometimes have added some grated parmesan or sneaky herbs to pep things up a little... still nothing worth writing home about or boring my loyal readers with. Until I embarked on my Turkish cooking adventure recently and my eyes fell on a recipe in the Malouf's wonderful book "turquoise". This was so incredibly tasty and different enough to warrant a blog post, I think. First of all it forgoes a problem I only come to understand since living in London. In Austria, every bakery sells breadcrumbs - and by that I mean real bread, dried and grated finely, not some artificially produced crumbs the colour of a bad fake tan, the texture of rubber gloves and the taste of cardboard with a touch of salt and a hefty dose of transfats piled on for good measure. Not so in the UK, unless you live near the German bakers (and don't mind that they charge you close to 5£/kg for something that would otherwise end up in the bin).
This recipe uses fresh slices of sandwich loaf, something I had not even considered coming from an entirely different background where you buy such loaves once in a blue moon with the sole purpose of making a ham-and-cheese toastie. It also adds parmesan (yes, ok, been there, done that), chopped pistachios, lemon zest, sesame and sumac - the combination is so delightfully fresh, tasty and has that certain oomph that has given it a firm place in my list of things I'd make over and over again... We enjoyed it with Turkish spoon salad, something I also urge you to try for the love of food!
Pistachio, sumac & sesame crumbs
3 slices of toast (sandwich loaf), ca. 100 g
1 tbsp sumac
finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
100 g parmesan (finely grated)
100 g shelled, roasted pistachios (unsalted) - finely chopped
2 tbsp sesame seeds
Grate the sandwich slices in a food processor, combine with the remaining ingredients.
To bread chicken breasts (or anything else that takes your fancy), coat with flour, then beaten egg, then finally the crumb mix.