A classic in breading, garlic and parsley are a classic combination to accompany breadcrumbs in gratin dishes with strong flavors and simple to prepare, typical of our culinary tradition.
Let's get to know gratin better
The much loved golden crust that forms on both fish, meat and vegetable dishes is typical of typical dishes of different culinary traditions, but at least this time we Italians cannot appropriate it, at least not of the name, gratin is a French word. We don't know where gratin dishes were born, but we know for sure that it was a French chemist, Louis Camille Maillard, who investigated the chemical processes underlying gratin, so much so that the chemical reaction was given his name: Maillard reaction. Don't worry, you don't have a chemistry lesson waiting for you, but this introduction serves to introduce information that will prevent you from making disasters in the kitchen. The chemical reactions that form the basis of gratin are quite complex, but what you are interested in knowing in the kitchen is that they are the result of proteins reacting with carbohydrates (i.e. sugars). What does this entail? That there is a difference between gratinating meat or fish and gratinating vegetables, in the first case you already have proteins and fats and therefore you could also just add the breadcrumbs, in the case of vegetables instead you have to add some cheese, for example parmesan or at least sprinkle with a a thin layer of olive oil or you will only get burnt vegetables and not the succulent crust.
Examples of dishes in which to use the garlic and parsley gratin breading
As anticipated, breading with garlic and parsley is a classic that goes well with both gratin vegetable dishes and fish dishes, among the most well-known dishes there are certainly tomatoes au gratin. Fun fact: if you look for the recipe online you will see that someone is convinced that the addition of garlic and parsley to the breadcrumbs is characteristic of Apulian-style gratin tomatoes, elsewhere you will find Romagna-style ones. In some cases the recipes for gratin tomatoes tend to be light and only require extra virgin olive oil, in others the addition of parmesan, obviously with cheese the gratin will be better for the reason explained above, at least don't forget the oil or you will only get tomatoes burned. A simple and healthy dish based on blue fish on which to use gratin breading with garlic and parsley are baked anchovies gratin. What was explained in the previous paragraph on gratin, i.e. that in the case of fish and meat the breading does not require external proteins and fats, does not prevent them from being added, the addition of pecorino or parmesan will make the breading crispier.