Gluten-Free Pantry: Panko Crumbs

Looking back at my pre-gluten-free days, I realized I relied on bread crumbs far more than I thought. When I did my “get rid of all the gluten” pantry clean-out, I found unopened packages of bread crumbs hidden away (it turns out someone was very inconsistent and kept her bread crumbs in two different cupboards, plus with the baking supplies). Now I don’t use bread crumbs very often, but when I do, I reach for gluten-free panko.

Panko is a Japanese bread crumb. The crumbs are large and airy, giving your dishes a lightness that denser breadcrumbs don’t have. Gluten-free panko is available at some Whole Foods stores and via online gluten-free grocers, including Amazon.com. I buy several boxes at a time because this is the type of product I’d run out of and forget to replace.

I use GF panko to coat chicken for frying or oven frying. It makes a fantastic crunchy topping for my world famous Mac and Cheese (my bookclub can’t tell that they’re eating an entirely gluten-free meal!). I dredge crab cakes in panko before cooking — the panko turns a lovely golden brown, and, well, crab cakes are always good.

Then there’s my favorite use for panko: making Tonkatsu. Tonkatsu are thin pork chops, dredged in panko, and fried quickly. They were my favorite treat when we went out to Japanese restaurants, and I was so happy when I finally perfected my recipe for this dish.

Tell me your favorite uses for panko or regular bread crumbs here.

Tip of the Week

Store your gluten-free panko in an airtight container in a cool, dark place to maintain freshness for as long as possible.

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