Recipe: Garlic Croutons

23 Oct

Croutons are often the bread of choice around here—if you’ve only been using Mrs. Cubbison’s and have been putting them on your salad, you’re seriously missing out. Croutons are like sparkly earrings with your jeans—they make everything so much more dressed-up and accessorized with very little effort. And yes, this is one accessory that’s completely worth it.You might want to have a seat for this one, for I am about to reveal to you one of the best-kept secrets of my kitchen. No, the culinary world. No, the universe! Once you make these, like the boys and girls in Toyland, you “can never go back again.” Seriously, kids. If I were to make a formula out of this recipe, it’d go something like this:

Cut-up old bread + garlic + olive oil + salt + baking = croutons.

Less oil is needed than you'd think.

Less oil is needed than you think.

I feel silly already just posting a recipe to me that is less of a recipe and more along the line of instructions for turning on a light, but I’ve been taken aback so many times at how much people love this simple topping that I thought I’d feature it. If I asked, I don’t think anyone would be surprised that they could make their own croutons—like other things we’ve been used to buying, it just doesn’t occur to them. Or seems difficult and time-consuming. It’s neither, especially when the bread is pre-made. (Did I just endorse using something with the prefix “pre” in it? Yes. Yes, I did. I’m feeling okay.)

One of the prime ways we like to eat croutons.

One of the prime ways we like to eat croutons.

My only cautionary note is that while you’d never eat an entire loaf of say, bakery bread by yourself, you’d be surprised how dangerously easy it is to drive on the edge of that cliff when that loaf of bread becomes croutons. They may seem small, but it only takes a handful for you to realize that you’re really not hungry any more. When you can’t figure out why, I’ll help you out: you just ate an entire loaf of bread. Possibly by yourself. Good friend that I am, however, I’ve let you know ahead of time, so all will be well. (Side note: the whole-loaf-eaten thing doesn’t phase the Midwestern Meateater, so if you’ve got such characters around, don’t be surprised how not horrified they are at this thought.)

Happy eatings!

-Erin

Garlic Croutons

If you’re feeling particularly passionate, your own homemade bread would work fine for this recipe, of course, and all the more power to you for it; homemade bread that I’ve tasted, however, is much heavier than a store-bought version, so keep in mind that this characteristic will transfer to your croutons, too.

Tip: I like to buy day-old, discounted bread for this recipe. If it’s to be found in abundance, I buy in up in droves and freeze it, using it for later. It’s extremely affordable (a euphemism for “cheap”) and makes me feel good about using something that would be thrown out. (I worked in too many bakeries. I know.) If you can’t find old bread, however, non-old bread will work just fine—the action of toasting them in the oven takes care of that.

From “raw” to eating: 10 minutes

Makes: a loaf’s worth of croutons…share. Share!

Inside:
1 loaf store-bought bakery bread, un-sliced and a few days over the hill
2 cloves garlic, bashed and minced
2-3 T olive oil
salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Slice bread into long ½” batons and then into ½” cubes. Place on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle minced garlic around as evenly as possible. Drizzle oil oil; not much is needed. Lightly toss with hands to coat. Sprinkle with salt, to taste.

Toast in oven for ~10 minutes, checking once halfway through and rotating if necessary.

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7 Responses to “Recipe: Garlic Croutons”

  1. Kristina October 23, 2008 at 10:07 pm #

    I do have a job. That’s when I blog! 🙂 And Tabitha just found me a couple of days ago.

    Oh, and I was begged to get on Twitter. I just joined today. I don’t really know how I feel about it. I’m definitely not doing the sidebar on my blog, but one of my blog friends hosts this Girl’s Night Out on Tuesday nights, and she really wants me to join. You should do it to!

    Find me and follow me!

  2. Julianne October 25, 2008 at 2:21 pm #

    This reminds me of our crouton experiments at the good old MOA–theres no better way to start the morning than with a batch of garlic croutons!

    I have to tell you how much I loved the “Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century” blog! When I was working on the E.I.Z. exhibit for BYU, I would go through hundreds of photos from the 19th century, often marveling at the engineering and creativity that went into some of the facial hair fashions of the day. Fabulous!

  3. Heather October 29, 2008 at 11:06 am #

    I’ve never made croutons before, but always wanted to. I’ve really been getting the urge to lately! Thanks!

  4. Mandy October 31, 2008 at 7:55 pm #

    Hello darling! Fantastic to hear from you. And I love me some croutons. I’m all about soup and bread- would be happyily live on it.

    I am on a perpetual diet. It’s a control issue that I completely admit to. When I started the blog I used to hide behind what I made for husband, and then I decided life is too short to tell lies, so I just put it all out there.

    Stevia is brilliant. I highly recommend the Sweet Leaf brand, liquid form, which you can find at Whole Foods. They have a vanilla flavor I use to make “low carb french toast bagel bites”, and a lemon flavor I use to sweeten iced tea.

    My writing project was for a new event planning business that hosts bachelor and bachelorette parties. I was hired to be the bachelorette voice. Too much freaking fun. I just need to find me 12 more of these a year and I’m cool!

    Happy Halloween!

    xoxo

    Mandy

  5. esprout November 14, 2008 at 12:05 pm #

    Mary,

    You recently left a comment on my blog, and I’d be happy to respond to you. However, you left no URL and the e-mail address accompanying your comment (for your privacy, I will refrain from listing it here) has turned out to be false. The e-mail I sent was promptly returned as undeliverable. If would leave contact information here, I’ll be happy to respond to your query.

  6. Shearse May 22, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    emm.. strange 🙂

    • esprout February 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

      Garlic croutons? Far from strange–give them a try!

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