Sunday, March 29, 2009

Savory Sundays; Croutons

Welcome to Savory Sundays! I've got a couple of smaller things to share and, if I get the time, one sort of major cooking triumph as well.

First, small thing number one: croutons. Here's a link to the recipe. Now, I know what you're thinking, 'Croutons aren't worth the trouble. It's easy to buy them and I'd rather spend time making something worth the effort.' True, it's easy to buy them and they aren't an indispensable part off a meal or salad even. But these are worth the trouble because they are so tasty. And really, it's not that tough to make. The hardest part is probably cutting up all the bread.

I used a French loaf but I've also used smaller loaves, a sourdough one worked well once. This time, though, just a standard French loaf, and it should be day-old bread, a bit on the crusty side.

You'll need six cups' worth, which is almost all of this loaf pictured above. I only had enough to make four cups' worth but typically six cups is almost this loaf in its entirety, save for the very ends. You'd be well served to cut the crust off to, although an odd piece here or there with crust won't destroy things.

All cut up:
Then, melt 1/4 cup of butter over medium-to-low heat. Toss in some garlic and thyme (or whatever other seasoning you'd like). Melt the butter and cook it until it foams, which is pretty quick.

Now, you could use a compound butter with garlic, thyme or other flavors in it already, but I didn't have that handy. You want to add the bread into the pan and toss them with the butter. Probably want to turn the heat off at that point, and do toss them quickly because otherwise one side of the bread cubes gets all the butter and the other side gets nothing.

Put the cubes on a baking sheet, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Put cookie sheet into a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes (mine were done right at 10 minutes). You'd do well to toss them once or twice. When they are light brown, golden colored, they're done. Now, if you use garlic and it falls onto the sheet, there will be some burned garlic pieces, but that's fine. It doesn't seem to affect the croutons. That's also why I use the aluminum foil, makes cleanup a lot easier.

Store them in an airtight container and you'll be good to go. And you'll feel like it was worth the effort because they are so tasty.


Raoulysgirl said...

I love making my own croutons! The ones in the store always seem too "hard." When I make them myself, they kind of melt in your mouth...a BIG difference! Thanks for reminding me to make them myself!!!

Willoughby said...

I agree with Raoulysgirl, the bagged croutons are sooooo hard. I'm going to try this recipe later this week. Thanks, Luis!