During a recent night out I spotted something at the table across from me that could only be described as a mammoth veggie steak.
(Photo: This is not the veggie steak. I repeat, this is not the veggie steak. Please keep reading.)
There, on a plate not too far from where I sat, was a 2 1/2 inch thick slice of herb and bread crumb encrusted cauliflower roasted to pure perfection. At least, that's what my eyes were telling me. Instantly, I knew I had to try my hand at the dish.
Fast forward a few days and I'm in my kitchen, sliced cauliflower laid out before me and absolutely ZERO breadcrumbs or bread in the house. Agghh! Determined to continue, I foraged through the cupboard for a substitute. I was looking for something that might be able to bring a depth of flavor to the dish and if possible, some wonderful nutritional benefits as well. What happened next is nothing short of kitchen genius/miracle (Full disclosure: I give full credit to my glass of wine and the jar of pine nuts that mysteriously fell onto the counter when I opened the cupboard). What resulted was a recipe I am simply calling Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs.
While the name sounds rather mundane, these little snowflakes of heaven are anything but. The warming nuttiness of roasted pine nuts and hemp seeds (hello - Omega-3s) mix brilliantly with the rich and salty tang of fresh ground anchovies and garlic. The result is a classic but incredibly unique flavor that can complement almost any dish.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this as an option for new and expecting moms because of the powerful nutritional content which includes protein, B12, B6, iron and calcium. Try getting that from you standard bread crumb. More importantly, or dare I say, most important of all, the flavor far exceeds the flakes of any fried or roasted gluten-rich bread I have ever tasted.
Make a batch or two and keep it in the fridge for use throughout the week. Try it on salads and eggs. Use it in crab cakes or as crust on your favorite piece of fish (it is AMAZING with cod). And of course, add it to your steamed, sautéed or oven roasted veggies.
Honestly and truly, this one is not to be missed.
1 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup hemp seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 anchovy fillets (substitute: 1 teaspoon anchovy paste)
1 large clove garlic, minced/pressed
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350.
Place the pine nuts and hemp seeds in a food processor. Use the pulse setting 10 - 15 times or until the ingredients reach the desired consistency. The mixture should be slightly chunky but with no whole or half sized pine nuts remaining. Be careful not to overly chop as the pine nuts will turn into a paste like consistency.
Using the tines of a fork or a mortar and pestle, mash the anchovy fillets, olive oil and sea salt until you have a paste.
Place the pine nuts, hemp seeds, anchovy paste, minced garlic and parsley in large bowl and mix thoroughly.
Spread the mix onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Roast the mixture in the oven for 25 minutes, making sure to turn the mixture with a spatula at the 10, 15 and 20 minute mark. A strong nutty aroma should start to form and the mixture should be a dark golden brown.
Remove your breadcrumbs from the heat and allow to cool. Store in a cool dry place (I keep mine in a container in the fridge, which I stick a spoon in frequently) and they will last for a week!
Note: My week long estimate is based on the ingredients and not on personal experience as these breadcrumbs have never lasted more than a day in my home. I'd be surprised if they made it any longer in yours. Bon Appetit!
Freezing: I have not tried freezing this recipe but I see no reason why it wouldn't stand the freezer challenge. Just make sure the breadcrumbs are stored in an airtight container.