In the south of Italy, especially around Calabria, they may make a pasta with olive oil, garlic, chilli and tomato, and then, running out of money for Parmesan they would substitute it for breadcrumbs.

Then, in Romagna, began to pre-mix the breadcrumbs with the oil and garlic.

And they began using it on all kinds of other things – not just pasta. It’s very good for example as a topping for vegetables – for example the Princess Diana stuffed aubergine recipe, here; or fennel braised in vermouth with garlicky breadcrumbs. A couple of generous spoons of this obviates the need for additional carbs – rice or potatoes.

These are also very good on salads, or served on top of white fish – then all you need are a few roasted cherry tomatoes.

They will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge. They are best served at room temperature, or slightly warm. They lose some of their flavour when served piping hot.


Recipe for garlicky Italian Breadcrumbs


(enough to cover vegetables for eight). Don’t think of making a smaller quantity – it simply isn’t worth it.


  • 100g/4 oz – two or three slices wholesome bread
  • 25g/1 oz/a packet flat-leaved parsley
  • 6 fat cloves of garlic, crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt
  • Generous grinds of black pepper (in fact I used Urfa pepper flakes)
  • 120ml/½ cup olive oil


  1. In an electric chopper or blender put the bread and the parsley (including the stems) and blitz until it is breadcrumbs.
  2. Peel and crush the garlic with the salt, and add that to the breadcrumbs – pulse again. Pour in the olive oil. Mix.