I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and that you are not reading this post as you are standing in a never ending return line! If you are, then you have sympathy, you also have a gift from me. These very easy and oh so delicious homemade croutons! I don't know about you, but one of the things I judge about a restaurants salad is the croutons. If they are good, homemade (or in that case restaurant made) croutons, it completely elevates the salad and the restaurant. I have been known to return to restaurants just to get their salad because I love their croutons that much. On the other hand, if I eat at at a restaurant and they serve me those dry, tasteless cubes that come from a box, no thank you.
Now, that I have more time, I bake a sourdough loaf of bread every week. But even when I didn't bake, I bought one or two baguettes a week. We love bread around our house. The problem is you don't quite make it through the bread before it starts getting a little stale. That's when it's the perfect time to make these homemade croutons. They are so easy and they pay you back tenfold. I love them in green salads and I also use them in frittatas, savory bread puddings, and panzanella.
There are two options for making homemade croutons - your oven or the stove. I prefer the stove top, something about the level of crispness from my old cast iron skillet just can't be beat, however when I have a large quantity the oven is perfect. The best part is that you can flavor them however you would like. Just use two teaspoons of your favorite seasoning (mediterranean, Italian, herbes de Provence, whatever) and then salt and pepper to taste. Believe me, even if you use just salt and pepper, they are still amazing. Also, I've given a ratio of 2 cups of bread to 2 tablespoons of oil/butter, feel free to adjust that to your preference - it's all very forgiving!
- 2 cups bread about 1/2 to 3/4 inch dice
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil or half and half
- 1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence or your favorite seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
For the oven:
- Preheat oven to 450. Toss bread cubes with olive oil/butter and 1/2 teaspoon seasoning and salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer in a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy and golden. Remove from oven.
For the stove top:
- Toss bread cubes with olive oil/butter and 1/2 teaspoon seasoning and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Heat a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat. When hot, add croutons and toss and stir until golden on all sides, about 5-10 minutes.
- Let croutons cool and store in a ziplock bag or jar. They keep on the counter for about 4-5 days and freeze well.
I'm linking up with:
Friday Favorites @ Simply Sweet Home
Foodie Friends Friday @ Walking on Sunshine
The Country Cook Weekend Potluck @ The Country Cook
Snickerdoodle Sunday @ Meatloaf and Melodrama
The Party Bunch @ Thirty Handmade Days
Say G’Day Saturday @ Natasha in Oz
See Ya in the Gumbo @ Ms. enPlace
Souper Sundays @ Kahakai Kitchen