Sep 26, 2012


You will find Panko in the Asian section
of your grocery store
Many people know about panko and many don't, if you don't, you should. Panko is a wonderful and very versatile bread crumb that can be used in a variety of recipes from appetizers to desserts. It's available in most well-stocked supermarkets and in Asian grocery stores. So what is panko? Panko is a Japanese-style bread crumb, however it is produced worldwide, particularly in Asian countries, including Japan, Korea, Thailand, China, and Vietnam. The Japanese first learned to make bread from our old friends, the Portuguese; the word "panko" is derived from pão (Portuguese for "bread") and -ko, a Japanese suffix indicating "flour", "crumb", or "powder". There are two types of panko, white and tan. White panko is made without the crust and tan is made with it, but you usually see the white variety in stores in the U.S. Panko’s bread is coarsely ground into airy, large flakes that give fried foods a light, crunchy coating. The flakes tend to stay crispier longer than standard bread crumbs because they don’t absorb as much grease. Panko is often used for breading fish and shellfish because of its lighter airier texture, leaving the fish perfectly moist inside. This wonderful product is a "must have" in your pantry. 

Just like any other bread product, the shelf life of panko is important to know. If you look carefully on the bag you will see a "sell by" date. Generally an unopened bag of panko will keep for at least one year. Moisture is the biggest problem, especially here in Hawaii where the humidity is high most of the time, shortening the shelf life, so panko should be stored in a dry area. When the package is opened, it should be stored in a tightly closed container. To increase the shelf life, panko can, and should be frozen in a resealable plastic freezer bag. If you haven't tried panko, give it a try, I think you will be glad you did, and so will the people you cook for.


Panko Crusted Shrimp Tempura
Everyone loves shrimp tempura, but adding panko makes the shrimp even crispier. This recipe will also work with vegetables like green beans, onion rings, sliced sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, etc., but shrimp is the most popular.

canola oil, for frying
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup club soda
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 cups panko Japanese bread crumbs
24 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails left on
1/2 cup Tamari (a type of soy sauce used for sushi, it has a deeper flavor than regular soy sauce)
24 6-inch bamboo skewers

First clean and devein shrimp, I like to leave the tails on, but that's up to you. Sprinkle shrimp with a little Tamari sauce, and put into the refrigerator. In a wok or large skillet, pour in about 1 inch of canola oil, enough to cover shrimp when cooking. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer, inserted in the oil, reaches 375˚F. While the oil is heating, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the club soda and sesame oil. Stir until just combined and still lumpy. Put the panko bread crumbs in a large plate. Dry the shrimp with a paper towel, then dip 4 in the batter, then cover with panko and fry, 4 at a time, until the batter is golden and crispy, about 60 to 70 seconds. Drain on paper towels. Continue this process until all of the shrimp are all cooked. Put one shrimp bamboo skewers and serve the Tamari sauce alongside as a dipping sauce. Makes 24 appetizers.

Baked Salmon Cakes with 
Roasted Red Pepper-Chive Aioli
This recipe is for mini salmon cake appetizers, but you can make the cakes larger and serve as a main course if you prefer.

12 ounces salmon, poached in water with a little salt, cooled and crumbled
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs
fresh chives, rinsed and cut into 1-inch lengths

In a large bowl, combine celery, minced chives, mayonnaise, egg, mustard, and hot sauce; mix well with a fork. Add salmon and 1/4 cup panko; stir gently just to mix. Put remaining 1 cup panko in a shallow bowl. Shape salmon mixture into 24 cakes, each about 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Turn each cake in panko to coat on all sides, pressing gently to make crumbs adhere. Place cakes slightly apart on a parchment lined baking pan. Bake in a 475°F oven until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. With a spatula, transfer crab cakes to a platter. Spoon a dollop of Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli (recipe follows) onto each cake. Garnish platter with fresh chives. Serve hot. Makes 24 cakes.

Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli
In a small bowl, mix 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup canned roasted red peppers drained and minced (or broil a fresh red bell pepper until black then remove skin, seeds, then mince), 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste. Taste and add salt if needed. Makes about 1 cup.

Panko Crusted Opakapaka  (Hawaiian red snapper)
Opakapaka is my favorite island fish, however you can substitute your favorite fish if you like. Marinating the fish first keeps it moist and flavorful. When coated with panko, it becomes light and crispy after frying. It can be served with a nice aioli sauce, or mango salsa on the side.

3/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2-4 pieces of opakapaka 1 - 1 1/2 inches thick, skin removed
1 - 2 eggs
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (make sure it's powder not garlic salt)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup mochiko rice flour (or all purpose flour)
1 cup of panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Garnish: Chives and sliced green onions

Combine the soy sauce, ginger, honey, pepper flakes, and sesame oil in a zip-lock bag and shake it all together. Then add the opakapaka. Let the fish marinate refrigerated for 1 hour. After marinating take the fish out of the bag and slightly dry it off with a paper towel. Beat the egg, add the water and garlic powder. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Be sure to watch the oil, if it begins to smoke - turn it down. Dredge the fish in the flour, then egg, followed by the panko. Place the fish into the pan and fry for 5 to 8 minutes on each side, or until done. The panko should be crispy and golden brown. Note: flip the fish 2-3 times to prevent it from getting dark brown, Panko browns very easily. Place on a drying rack and finish frying the other pieces. Garnish with a few pieces of chives and sliced scallions. Makes 2-4 servings.

Panko Pork Piccata
This dish originated in Italy using veal, however pork or chicken work just as well. I've added panko to the mix, for a crispy coating with a lemon-caper sauce. Serve with broccoli rabé and polenta.

1 cup flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko
1 1/2 - 2 pounds boneless pork loin cut into 4 pieces, then pounded between two pieces of wax paper with mallet to about 1/4-inch-thick
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup canola oil
6 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons capers
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
lemon slices, cut thin, and in half for garnish

Set the flour, eggs and panko in three separate shallow bowls. Season the pounded pork loin with salt and pepper. Dredge the pork in the flour, shaking off any excess, then dip in the eggs and coat thoroughly with the panko, pressing lightly to adhere. In each of 2 large skillets, heat 1/4 cup of the canola oil. Add the pork and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes. Transfer the pork to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter and cook over moderately high heat until browned and nutty, about 4 minutes. Stir in the capers, lemon juice and parsley; spoon over the pork, garnish with thin lemon slices. Makes 4 servings.

Baked Zucchini Fries In Greek Yogurt Dip
Ingredients For Zucchini Fries:
olive oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 large zucchinis, cut into 4-inch sticks
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
salt and pepper, to taste

Ingredients For Dip:
1 cup low fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
1 scallion, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Oil large rimmed baking sheet. Lightly beat the eggs and milk together in a medium bowl. In a separate medium bowl, stir the panko breadcrumbs and cheese together. Dip zucchini sticks in the egg mixture, making sure to coat them well. Dip the egg coated zucchini into the panko mixture. Spread out the coated zucchini pieces onto the prepared sheet pan. Season generously with salt and pepper and bake for about 15 minutes. Flip the zucchini sticks over with a spatula and bake for another 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

Mix the Greek yogurt, chopped parsley and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the chopped scallion on top. Serve the yogurt sauce alongside the fries. Makes 10 servings.

Asian Baked Asparagus
1/4 cup plain yogurt
4 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar, divided
3 teaspoons soy sauce, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger, divided
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 pound thick asparagus spears, trimmed, bottom 2/3 of each spear peeled
2 1/4 teaspoons Asian sesame oil, divided
1 teaspoon golden brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic sauce

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place a rack on a large rimmed baking sheet that is covered with foil. Whisk yogurt, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon grated ginger in pie dish. Mix panko and sesame seeds in another pie dish. Toss asparagus in mayonnaise mixture to coat, then roll in panko mixture. Transfer to rack on baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Roast until browned, about 16 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk 1 teaspoon water, brown sugar, chili-garlic sauce, remaining 3 teaspoons vinegar, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil in small bowl for sauce.

Transfer asparagus to platter; sprinkle with salt. Drizzle with sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Crispy Mango Coconut Cobbler
Ingredients for topping:
1 3/4 cups plain panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Toss the topping ingredients together, and set aside.

Ingredients for filling:
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
3 1/2 to 4 cups fresh or frozen mango (other fresh or frozen fruits may be substituted)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter six individual baking dishes, a generous 1 cup capacity each. Combine the sugar and corn starch, then stir in the lemon juice. Add the mango and cinnamon. Divide the mixture among the buttered baking dishes, using about 1/2 cup for each. Top with the crumb topping, again using about 1/2 cup for each. Bake for 38 to 45 minutes, until the filling is bubbling. Serve warm, with whipped cream or ice cream. Makes 6 servings.

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