Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Make Garlic Croutons

I used to think of croutons and just dried bread squares. Let's face it. That's what they are. Most of the time the croutons I’d get in restaurants were okay, but once in a while I’d come across things that would be best used in slingshots to kill small rodents. Yes, they were that hard. Freshly made, however, croutons can be a revelation, adding a wonderful crunch and additional flavor to green salads and are a must for a good Caesar salad.

Croutons are simple to make at home. The results are well worth it, too. Certainly they’re better than the flavorless cubed formations you normally find in the supermarket. Baguettes are the classic choice for making croutons, but almost any type of bread will do. I like using homemade wheat bread. Leftover stale bread works great, too.

Equipment needed
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Garlic press (optional)
Serrated slicing knife
Mixing bowls
Rubber spatula (optional)
Rimmed baking sheet

2 large cloves garlic
1/2 loaf of sliced bread
3 Tbl olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 °F.

Peel and mince the garlic cloves using a garlic press of chef’s knife. Using a serrated slicing knife, cut the bread slices into 1/2-inch thick strips, then cut each strip into 1/2-inch cubes. You should end up with about 4 cups of bread cubes.

Whisk the olive oil, minced garlic, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the bread cubes and toss with your hands or a rubber spatula until completely coated. Spread the bread evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the center rack until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Allow the croutons to cool before serving.

Makes 4 cups of croutons.

Once made, croutons can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week, although I prefer eating them the day they are made.

No comments: