I love bread. I don’t just enjoy a fresh slice or two every now and again, I actually crave bread and have no self control when fresh bread is put in front of me (especially when its accompanied by dipping oil). There’s definitely a reason why I don’t bake bread very often: I just plain can’t leave it alone.
Another thing I can’t leave alone? These doggone homemade croutons I’ve been making to “put on my salad.” If only they actually made to the salad…
It all started with an incredibly stale loaf of Italian bread Branden brought home that was leftover from making french toast. I’m not kidding, this was the most stale loaf of bread I’ve ever seen; it was as hard as a rock. Instead of throwing it away, I decided to make croutons. I began sawing (and I’m not joking, it was actually kind of hard to cut because it was so stale) the bread into bite sized pieces and contemplating my next moves. I heated the oven to 425° for starters and then created a garlic olive oil to drizzle over the bread by combining olive oil and fresh minced garlic that I let set for a few minutes. On a large baking sheet, I combined the bread and oil and then sprinkled with some fancy Italian seasoning, coarse sea salt, and fresh cracked black pepper. I then baked in the oven until the croutons were golden brown.
Magic. Just make sure to let them cool completely before storing them in the plastic bag. The challenge is not eating them all before they get into the bag. You can store in the freezer or they will last for a couple weeks sealed in the pantry (again, if they actually last that long). My favorite salad combo when they croutons make it to a bed of greens? Salmon Caesar. I pan fry with some salt and pepper a piece of salmon and throw it on a bed of lettuce with the croutons, fresh parmaesan, and Girard’s Light Caesar dressing. YUM!! (And not to mention, an incredibly fast week night meal.)