Before Food Editor Emma Laperruque’s recipe for Pecorino Dumplings, my relationship with bread crumbs (whether store-bought or homemade, fresh or dried, flavored or plain) was pretty much nonexistent. I grew up on those tinned bread crumbs laced with Italian seasonings, but never thought to make homemade bread crumbs myself.
But then Emma asked a very good question: Why would you *ever* throw bread butts away, when—fresh or dried or even stale—they could have a very exciting future in crumb form? Now, I stockpile heels, odds, and ends in a tightly sealed bag in the freezer. When a dish is lacking a crispy-crunchy something, I’ll pull out a heel or two, blitz it in the blender (a la method #1 below), toss gently with olive oil or anchovy oil or sun-dried tomato oil and toast until crisp.