Hansel and Gretel were on to something when they marked their way with breadcrumbs. If only the witch, not birds, had discovered them she would’ve kept them around to make more of this deliciously, rustic topping.

Makes about 4 cups


  • 1 pound stale rustic bread (white or whole wheat)

  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste

  • 1 cup grated cacciocavallo cheese (or any aged cheese)

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon dried Sicilian oregano (you can find this at the bakery)

  • Sea Salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Break bread into small pieces (the size of an olive) and place on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Careful not to burn them. The bread pieces should be thoroughly toasted and dried out. Let cool.

  2. Transfer the bread to a food processor and process until the bread breaks into very small clumps. Add the garlic paste, cheese, olive oil, oregano and salt. Pulse the food processor until the bread breaks down to the desired crumb size.

  3. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the breadcrumbs from the food processor and transfer to a sauté pan. Over medium heat, toast the breadcrumb mixture until dark brown, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Let cool before storing in an airtight container for later use. The breadcrumbs will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, or the freezer for several months.

Steven Lee Gilbert