Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Homemade Croutons.

Hello again! It’s been awhile since my last post. Here in the south, we are experiencing the usual end of summer sweltering temperatures. At our house, that means we are enjoying meals that do not require the oven, which often includes a salad. And what goes perfectly with a salad? Croutons!

I’m pretty sure that croutons are my son’s favorite part of the salad. Let me just say that homemade croutons taste so much better than store-bought croutons. Store-bought croutons are just so dry and boring. Once you make your own croutons, it will be hard to eat the store-bought ones again!
I make my croutons in the skillet and they are ready to go in about 5 minutes. Many people make their croutons in the oven. I’ve tried that method and it works great. But again, I am trying to avoid the oven. Also, the oven method takes 20-30 minutes. When I’m trying to throw together a quick weeknight meal, I don’t have that sort of time.  Any leftover croutons can be stored in an airtight container; however, I enjoy them most when they are prepared right before I intend to serve them.
I really like the versatility of making my own croutons because I can flavor them to complement the other flavors in my salad.  On this particular night, I had some leftover romaine lettuce and a rotisserie chicken so we had caesar salad. I had about half a loaf of cheddar cheese bread from the grocery store bakery leftover from making cheesy garlic bread the night before (to go with spaghetti) so that’s what I used. Since the bread already had so much flavor by itself, I just added salt and pepper. But you can use any bread which makes this a great way to use up leftover bread. You can use any combination of dried herbs and/or garlic that you like. Sometimes I even like to add freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano right at the end of the cooking process.
Homemade Croutons
  • 3 – 4 slices of bread diced into cubes
  • 1- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried herb of choice or 1 clove garlic diced finely (optional)
Add butter and olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the bread cubes, salt, pepper and any seasonings to the skillet and toss to coat. Cook 3-5 minutes, turning at least once, until croutons have reached desired level of browness/crispiness.
Store in an airtight container.

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