“Croutons are boring.”
I’ve thought this thought more times than I can count. They’re fillers. Stuffed into a gorgeous salad, just to take up room. Kind of like iceburg lettuce.
In fact, I can honestly say that croutons are the one item in a restaurant salad that I will push off to the side. Feta cheese, yum! Cranberries, yum! Roasted beets, double yum!
Croutons? Stale. Hard. Tasteless. Cardboard.
So today I set out to prove myself wrong.
I’ve been told that croutons should start with either a bread that you hate (thereby turning your bread into something you love) or they should start with a bread that you love (thereby turning your croutons into something extraordinary.)
I chose the latter.
A nice, crusty loaf of pumpernickle, complete with a doughy-soft center. A gentle but complex flavor. Perfect.
I resisted the urge to eat a hunk of bread just as it was, and diced it up into little bite-sized cubes.
The next step was heating the pan.
My goal was to have a crunchy crouton that still held on to its soft, fluffy center (no stale croutons, please!) With that in mind, I threw the heat to high.
Once the pan was nice and hot, the bread was tossed in, along with about a tsp of olive oil. The garlic powder was added later on, once the croutons were almost at their ready point. Nobody likes burnt garlic!
The real test came when I plummeted a hot crouton into my mouth, instantly tasting the garlic-infused pumpernickle flavors. It was crunchy. Then it was soft. It was exactly what a crouton should taste like.
Instead of shrugging the croutons off to the side like I might normally do, I gobbled them all up first. And found myself wondering why everything else on my salad had to be so boring.
It’s amazing what a homemade crouton can do.
Homemade Croutons–serves 1
Try these crunchy-soft croutons on top of your favorite salad, a homemade soup, or even as is with a smidgen of cheese to garnish. Try different spices, oils, bread for a change of flavor. Any way you eat them, these croutons are deliciously addicting!
Oh, and try to withhold your desire to eat a hot crouton directly from the pan. Let it cool for at least a minute or two. Otherwise you will burn your tastebuds, and all hopes of enjoying a delicious meal will be lost.
- 1 large slice of bread, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 tsp olive oil
- garlic powder
- Heat pan to medium-high.
- While pan is heating, toss together the bread and olive oil. Add to hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Cook until browned and hard on the outside (about 5-6 minutes.) Sprinkle garlic powder and cook for another minute or so.
Question: What is your favorite part of a salad?