Croutons on a Salad

Croutons on a Salad

by Cat, Nov 2013 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Included: 1. Basic Croutons; 2. Garlic Croutons; 3. Herb Croutons

Most of us probably buy a box of croutons, not realizing how easy they are to make. Plus, it’s a great way to use up bread that is going stale. Croutons are a tasty garnish to soups and salads, but are also used to make dressings and stuffings for poultry and other meats.

Each recipe has two different methods for making the croutons. I have better luck with method 1, which is adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure, by Anna Thomas, and Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, published 1969, 1978, 1986. Method 2 is adapted from FineCooking website, but I lost the link and cannot find it again.

Basic Croutons

This makes 1 ¼ cups croutons

  • 3 – 4 slices whiter whole grain bread that is beginning to go stale, but NOT dry
  • 4 Tbsp real butter
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method #1

  1. Allow ¼ cup butter to soften in a small bowl.
  2. Remove crusts from bread (if desired), then spread butter thinly on both sides of bread, then cut bread into cubes.
  3. Arrange on a baking sheet and toast in oven preheated to 350° – 400°F for about 15 – 20 minutes, tossing around occasionally so all sides get toasted; or toast in a cast iron skillet, stirring/tossing so all sides get toasted.
  4. Remove from oven/skillet and set aside.

Method #2

  1. Remove crusts from the bread and cut into ½” cubes.
  2. Melt butter in large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add bread cubes and sauté until golden.
  3. Remove to paper towels and season to taste.
  4. If you want them to be crispier, preheat oven to 250°F. Transfer croutons to a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven about 15 minutes.

Garlic Croutons

  • basic recipe plus:
  • 2 – 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • Use olive oil instead of butter, if using with a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern recipe.

Follow Method #1, except: Mince garlic, sprinkle with salt, then press to a paste with the side of your knife blade.  Let rest a few minutes, then mix into softened or melted  butter; spread thinly on bread slices before toasting.

Herb Croutons

  • basic recipe, plus
  • minced fresh, or ground, dried herbs, as desired

Follow Method #1, except: Mince fresh herbs (or use powder/ground dried herbs). Stir into softened buttered, then spread thinly on bread slices before toasting.

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