Panko are Japanese bread crumbs. A long time secret of Japanese cuisines, panko is now a pantry staple for creating perfect crispiness in any dish. Panko is a culinary superstar. The large flaky crumb has a coarser texture than traditional breadcrumbs and delivers a lighter crunchier coating. Whether frying, baking or broiling, panko has become the bread crumb of choice in my house.
Panko is made from the soft tender centers of bread, but not all panko is created equally. Usually with new foods we have to wait to get a kosher certified product. With panko we did not have to wait long thanks to Chef Jeff Nathan, who brought us kosher panko back in 2004 and his panko is as good as any other on the market. But Chef Jeff didn’t stop with just panko, he created two flavored varieties, Italian and Fine Herbs. The flavors are strong so you want to make sure to use them in the appropriate settings, but once you experience how it elevates the basic chicken schnitzel with flavor and texture, you will never want to go back to regular bread crumbs.
Now, this year, Chef Jeff debuts a new panko for gluten free consumers that is also Kosher for Passover. Made from a mixture of tapioca starch and potatoes, these crumbs are not quite as flaky as the original, but make a very good substitute for those in need of gluten free or to enjoy on Passover. The crumbs adhered well to the chicken and created a nice crispy crust when fried or baked and that is really what you are looking for when breading your chicken - -especially when you can’t “bread” it at all!
Use panko to coat your next meal, try Panko Crusted Fish Sticks or share some of your favorite panko recipes with us.