Homemade Croutons

Have you ever noticed that what you like about a great salad is almost never the lettuce?  I think of lettuce as merely a salad dressing delivery device. Salads are almost always named after the non herbaceous ingredients or at least mention other ingredients in the title.  When you consider a salad from a restaurant menu, you may even allow your eye to jump to text below where the added proteins are listed.

I don’t mean to diminish salad as a worthy menu selection, I intend to honor the salad by teaching you how to make croutons just like I serve in my restaurant, the Acadian Superette, in all of my salads.  

Croutons give texture, can deliver the needed savory load generally lacking in most lettuce strands that I’ve tasted, and make the dish more visually appealing.  “Crouton” is derived from the french word croute, meaning “crust”.  Croutons are generally made from stale bread and making them is a delicious way to eliminate waste from your kitchen or restaurant.  I make my croutons from leftover french bread, but even stale sliced bread makes a good crouton.

Try this easy recipe next time you have some leftover bread that has gone stale.

Ingredients:

One loaf of stale french bread

Two to three tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cloves crushed garlic cloves

Directions:

  1. In a small sauce pan, heat up olive oil and throw in the crushed garlic
  2. Remove from heat just as the garlic begins to brown slightly, you do not want to overly brown the garlic, this step is simply to infuse the olive oil with the garlic flavor
  3. Remove the lightly browned garlic from the oil and save the garlic for another dish or help yourself to this delicious cooked garlic
  4. Cut the loaf of french bread into half inch cubes and place into a large bowl
  5. Toss the salt, black pepper, and cayenne into the bowl
  6. Drizzle all of the garlic infused olive oil into the bowl with the bread and spices and toss until all of the cubes are evenly coated, do not hesitate to add more olive oil if needed
  7. Poor all of the cubes onto a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown, this should take about 8-10 minutes
  8. Serve immediately or keep in airtight container for later use.