Ever since the hand-crushed fermented bread crumbs popped up on the tasting menu at Daniel Patterson's flagship restaurant, Coi, breadcrumbs have been the making their way onto trendy plates throughout the city. It seems that breadcrumbs are the new toast—an artisanal accessory food that can be dressed up or down for any occasion. Tired after a long day of work? Crumble a few slices of Acme levain and smother the crumbs with American cheese. Trying to impress your new brocoding boyfriend? Try a blend of Josey Baker crumbles topped with flakes off of a Tartine croissant. Throwing a dinner party in your up-and-coming mid-Market penthouse? Pull out the big guns by showcasing a 5-course tasting menu to explore all of the different flavors and textures present within this extraordinary food. Here’s how.
First, you will need to source your bread. You’ll need at least one different selection per course, and it is best to buy the highest quality product possible. Check your local farmers’ markets first before searching through a grocery delivery app. You can also choose to buy bread through local retailers or a small, independent grocery store (but only if they sell local goods. Here, I’ve sourced a loaf of local levain, a local morning bun, a bag of local pita bread, a local everything bagel, and a (regrettably not local) loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread.
Each type of bread necessitates a different preparation method to best highlight their unique texture profile. Follow along below to see the meal prepared in the order of its courses.
First course: Elevated Bagel (untoasted everything crumbs, frothy buttermilk, baby parsley)
Bagel crumbs should be rustic in their formation and untoasted in their nature. To prepare, slice the bagel into 1/4-inch thick rounds and transfer to a food processor. Pulse the bagel pieces until they have formed a diverse assemblage of crumbs, some pea-sized and some sand-sized. Transfer to a small bowl.
To plate the dish, place a Chinese soup spoon on the counter. Carefully pour shaken and strained buttermilk into the spoon. This creamy, frothy buttermilk mimics the tang of cream cheese without its gelatinous mouthfeel. Top the buttermilk with two large pinches of bagel crumbs, being sure to place a few golden pieces on top. Pinch off one baby parsley leaf and place on top for a perfect burst of fresh grassiness.
Second course: A Taste of the Middle East (hand-flaked olive oil-fried pita crumbs, za’atar, fry oil)