Breadcrumbs are more than just a method to make sure you can find your way back to where you started, they happen to also be a culinary workhorse. They add both texture and binding power to something like a classic meatball and are probably most often called upon to give a crispy texture to a dish as a coating.
But when you run short on this crushed carbohydrate, never fear. You may already have a very solid backup on hand in the cupboard, especially if you're a frequent snacker. Believe it or not, using some run-of-the-mill pretzels as a coating can make your favorite dish crunchy and extra flavorful.
Crushed pretzels are not only ideal for their crispiness, but they bring taste to the table, too. Pretzels are malty, toasted, and caramel-like. Sourdough pretzels can even have a yeasty character that you can leverage depending on what you're going for in your finished dish. And across the board, unless you happen to have the rare unsalted version, your pretzels will also bring a dose of delicious salt to the table when you use them as a crunchy coating.
Preparing Your Pretzels Crumbs
To put this magic into action, simply crush up your pretzel selection to a desired grain. This will depend on your preference and intended use. If the plan is to coat a piece of chicken or fish, panko-style, you might want a slightly coarser grind, while incorporating this breadcrumb substitute into a meatball or meatloaf may call for something closer to a powder.
To achieve this, blitz up your pretzels in a food processor, stopping every so often to check whether you're happy with your grind level. If you don't have a food processor available, you can put them in a zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin or use a mortar and pestle (although you won't likely get a super-fine result with these methods).
If you still fall short on crumbs for your recipe, or you don't have that bag of pretzels within reach, you can also experiment with other substitutes. Corn flakes, rolled oats, crackers (like Ritz, saltine, or butter), even potato or tortilla chips are fun ideas. Just be sure to note that, like pretzels, each has a particular flavor profile that will differ from the more common, neutral bread crumbs.
Once you have your pretzel powder on hand, prepare to experiment. There are so many recipes that will welcome a burst of flavor and salt, along with that crunch factor.
Pretzel-crusted chicken tenders pair perfectly with honey mustard and make a great game-day snack. Even a sturdy seafood like catfish will stand up to the crunchification of pretzel-coating, and while you're in the fish section, fry up some crab cakes by substituting crushed crackers or breadcrumbs with pretzel powder in the mixture. Stuffing is also a great playground for your new pretzel crumbs. Fill mushrooms with bacon and salty crushed pretzels in place of panko, or use them to make guests a turkey stuffing worthy of extra gratitude next Thanksgiving.
Combine a coarse version of your pretzel crumbs with butter and sprinkle over baked mac and cheese for a creamy, crunchy, salty, savory flavor bomb. You can even simply fry your crumbs with herbs, salt, and spices for a crunchy topping that'll elevate just about any dish you choose to sprinkle it over. There are so many possibilities, you'll never pass the pretzel aisle without stocking up again.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.