We love panko, the Japanese-style breadcrumbs. Not too thick or coarse, panko crumbs are flaky, light, and airy, so they create a delicate but crispy coating. And panko's easy to work with. Our favorite chef, Chef John, loves panko, too. "The larger, flaky crumbs get much crispier, and stay crisp much longer than conventional breadcrumbs," he explains.
Here are six top-rated recipes from Chef John that use panko to perfection:
1. Chicken Kiev
Moist and tender inside, crispy outside, with a surprise garlic-butter center, this elegant chicken recipe can't fail to impress. "It's one of the greatest chicken experiences of your life," says Chef John. "It's also one of the greatest garlic experiences of your life, as well as one of the greatest butter experiences of your life."
Panko is delicate enough to use in recipes like this ricotta cheese tart. "I love the simple combination of really good ricotta and fresh herbs baked with just enough eggs to hold things together," says Chef John.
Panko also make the best Scotch eggs. "In my version of Scotch eggs, I keep the egg soft, so when you bite in, you get that amazing contrast in texture between the molten yolk and the crispy sausage shell," says Chef John.
4. Shrimp Cakes
"I love Asian-style fish or shrimp cakes but almost never order them because I find there's too much filler or 'binder,'" says Chef John. Not here. "If you want to enjoy shrimp cakes in their most pure form, give this recipe a try. It takes just a few minutes if you use your food processor." Enjoy them with Chef John's Thai-Style Sweet Chili Sauce.
"This is the world's greatest baked bean recipe, and a classic French dish," says Chef John. You’ll simmer white beans with garlic, onions, bay leaf, and a whole clove. Then combine the flavorful beans with bacon, sausage, and duck confit. After letting the cassoulet simmer, you'll top it with a panko mixture and bake to bubbly.
6. City Chicken
What happens when a simple country chicken heads to the big city? It becomes pork! Yes, this breaded-and-fried meat-on-a-stick isn't chicken at all, it's chopped pork tenderloin (or pork shoulder). Chef John explains the story of this mock chicken drumstick: "City cooks, who couldn't get chicken, would take scraps from much cheaper, at the time, pork and build something similar to what you see here." Enjoy with honey mustard!