Sure you can buy croutons if you want to feel like the victim of a pickpocket. I recently experienced sticker shock from a package of gourmet croutons at a local specialty grocer. Seven dollars for a tiny package of highly seasoned stale bread? Ridiculous. "This is the price for poor planning," I thought crabbily to myself as I contemplated other options. Sometimes a gourmet crouton is the best option. Even if it is expensive. I vowed to be better prepared in the future because I know this to be true: croutons are a breeze to make. No special equipment or skill required.
Croutons can be prepared from fresh bread but more often than not whipping up a batch of croutons is a satisfying way to make use of stale bread. My favorite croutons are made from savory breads such as rosemary or asiago. French, sourdough or a hearty peasant bread are great choices, too.
Try these croutons on your favorite salad or on leafy greens tossed with Jay's Mom's Vinaigrette. Another great choice is Caesar Salad or Rockin' French Salad with French Vinaigrette.
3 cups fresh or stale bread cubes (about 1/3-inch thick)
about 4 Tbsps garlic oil
2-3 tsps Herbs de Provence or Italian Seasoning mix
3-4 Tbsps finely grated parmesan cheese
|Cubes of La Brea Bakery's Rosemary and Olive Oil Bread.|
1. Place the cubed bread on a cookie sheet and place on the middle rack in the oven. Set the temperature to about 275°F. Bake, tossing the cubes every so often with a spatula until crunchy and fragrant - about 30 minutes.
2. In a large skillet, heat the oil until very warm. Sometimes I add minced garlic from the garlic oil, sometimes I don't. The choice is yours. Add the croutons to the oil and quickly stir until the croutons are coated in the oil. Mix in the dried herbs. Turn off the heat and mix in the parmesan cheese.
3. Transfer the croutons to a bowl to cool. Store in an airtight container.