I've never made croutons.
I know, they're so easy, why have I waited so long? Well, truth to tell, the store bought croutons satisfied me, I thought they tasted good.
But, the other day I pulled a box out of the cupboard to put some on my dinner salad. The box was at the back of the top shelf and had gotten forgotten since I bought it. It must have been fairly old because when I opened it up it had moths in it (we've been having a moth issue lately and they have infected more than a few items).
Since I uncharacteristically had a partial loaf of white sandwich bread available I decided that that was the night I would learn to make croutons.
After some internet searches and came up with a basic recipe:
De-crust five slices of white bread and cut them into cubes.
Saute a couple minced garlic cloves in olive oil and butter.
Toss the bread cubes in the butter/oil/garlic mixture and let things cool a little.
I made a mixture of Parmesan cheese, thyme, oregano, and parsley and tossed the bread cubes in a paper bag with the herbs.
Bake the seasoned bread cubes at about 300° in a black iron spider, stirring occasionally, until brown.
The results were great!
However, I will do a couple things different next time.
For the Parmesan cheese I only had a tub of shaved cheese. While I tried to break it up to approximate grated cheese I had limited success. Excess cheese baked into chewy globs in the pan. They didn't taste bad but a smaller amount of grated Parmesan cheese will be better.
Rather than mince fresh garlic I will try using powdered garlic to toss with the rest of the herbs. I think this will get into the bread better. Although, it won't flavor the oil/garlic. I'll have to see which one I like best.
Bread, 5 slices, about to go under the knife.
Sauteeing the minced garlic in olive oil and butter.
Tossing bread cubes in the garlic/oil/butter. I did end up adding a sprinkling more olive oil when it looked like some cubes didn't get any.
Herbs, from left, thyme, oregano, Parmesan cheese. The parsley flakes were camera shy.
Partway through the toasting. You can see the lumps of cheesy herbs that are forming from the excess Parmesan cheese.
If we're going to talk about croutons we may as well talk about the salad they're going on.
This is a good example of the extreme salads I like. Lettuce, bleu cheese, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, anchovies, and rotisseried chicken breast. I forgot to add the salami... dang it.
I picked up the bleu cheese at Jon's Market recently when I was in that area and it absolutely rocks! It's creamy and delicious, not at all dry and crumbly. All I remember is that it was made in Germany. I'll definitely be getting more of this.
It doesn't look like much but it's sure going to taste good.
Sorry I don't have a more photogenic bowl. I am accepting donations to get one.
Tossed, croutons added, we're ready for lift off.
Sorry, I didn't get a picture of the empty bowl. you've seen one dirty dish you've seen them all, eh?
I'm very pleased to add croutons to my skills. Fayme really enjoyed them (she ate the ones I didn't use like popcorn), I liked them, and they're easy and fun to make. I guess now I'll have to buy white bread once in a while.
Thanks for reading!