Summer usually means reducing how much heat’s in your kitchen when making dinner or lunches. Alas, in our house, half our dinners become salads especially with all our CSA salad greens each week. Besides the various toppings, we started making our own croutons about 3 years ago. Depending on what’s around we normally use olive oil and if we’re feeling decadent – bacon grease. There, I said it, it’s out there.
It’s also okay to use whatever stale bread is lying around. For the recipe, I happened to use part of a Whole Foods 49-jillion grain bread we had left over. Below is a quick and simple recipe for making your own croutons where you can control the seasonings & fat intake. Warning: I have a hard time not eating these straight.
Homemade Garlic & Thyme Croutons
1–1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
7 oz of (stale) bread cubed into 1/2” pieces
Heat a medium size skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil, thyme, garlic powder and black pepper. This will help infuse the oil with herbs before adding the bread. After heating and stirring the oil for 45 seconds (avoid smoking it), add the cubes of bread and salt.
Stir the bread around in the pan and mix well to coat all sides. Let the bread toast for 2–3 minutes on side, then flip the cubes over toast them 2–3 minutes again. Reduce the heat if necessary to avoid smoking the oil and burning the seasonings. If necessary, add half a tablespoon more of olive oil to the pan and stir around.
Remove croutons from the pan after they’ve toasted to medium brown. They’ll firm up as they cool, but it’s okay to start eating them right away!
If you’ve done this before, what are your favourite crouton seasonings?