croutons…for soups and salads!

March 30, 2013 § 2 Comments

The young man of the house is running track right now.  His already sizable appetite has increased and trying to work out the weeks “school lunch” options creates a head scratcher.  With that in mind, we buy a nice crusty loaf of rustic bread for his sandwiches.  We are very fortunate to have some astounding commercial bread bakers in Seattle. And since we never seem to finish the full loaf by the end of the week I freeze what is left to use later.  I grind it for recipes calling for fine breadcrumbs, dip it in milky eggs for french toast and make croutons for soups and salads.  I love these croutons because they have a crispy edge while still a bit chewy on the inside.  I use whatever fresh herbs I have on hand.  Since I have thyme, rosemary and oregano growing in my yard I normally use all three.  I always make extra because they seem to disappear out of the skillet before they make it to the salad bowl!

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What you will need

  •  4 slices of firm, good rustic bread
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • salt

Stack your bread and slice into bite size, irregular shaped cubes. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook garlic and herbs together until fragrant, making sure not to brown your garlic. Add the bread to the skillet and coat well with oil and herbs.  If your bread seems dry after soaking up the oil you may need to add a little more.  Continue cooking on medium heat, moving around with a spatula, until bread is toasted and browned.  Salt to taste.  Remove from heat and cool prior to tossing with salad.

Try your croutons with this…

caesar salad

This is a very simple caesar salad.  This recipe omits the anchovies.  However, if you prefer, use two anchovies and smash them into the dressing to create a paste like consistency.  I realize some take issue with using raw eggs.  If you would prefer not to use the raw yolk I have read a substitution of 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise will work fine.

What you will need:

  •  1 head romaine, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan

Slice one clove of garlic in half, completely rub the inside of your wooden salad bowl with the garlic halves.  Place the garlic, salt (and anchovies, if using) in the bowl and mash into a paste. Whisk in the remaining ingredients.

Add the romaine, croutons and 1/2 of the parmesan cheese to the bowl and toss well.  Serve right away topped with additional freshly grated parmesan.

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Serves 4

buon appetite!

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