Then you have no excuse not to make your own croutons.
In fact, whether salad is what’s for dinner or not, you can whip up your own croutons in less than 10 minutes whenever there’s day old bread lying around. Store them in an airtight container, and they can sit for up to a week. Sprinkle them on soups, salads, and the like. Or just keep snitching them out of the bowl on the counter where they live.
Homemade croutons are not like the kind from the grocery store, coated in garlic and onion powder. I love those. But garlic isn’t supposed to be powdered. Thus, these are better. Because they are infused with the flavor of real garlic. And when you sprinkle sea salt over them. Well. Then they’re just about perfect.
To make a batch of croutons, you will need:
- olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- sea salt (kosher would work as well)
- day old bread, cut into 1/2 to 1-inch cubes
First, a note. Some people believe in cutting the crusts off their bread before setting about to make croutons. I am not one of those people. If there is a step in the kitchen that can be eliminated without disastrous results, I’m likely to eliminate it. The choice, dear readers, is yours.
Set a large skillet on a burner. Drizzle in enough olive oil to coat the bottom in a thin layer. Heat olive oil and garlic cloves over medium to low heat, till olive oil starts to bubble around the cloves. Let simmer this way about 5 minutes. You’re infusing the oil with the flavor of the garlic. You can give things a stir if you feel the need to be more involved in the infusing process. Remove the garlic and discard. Add bread to skillet. At this point, you want to crank up the heat if it was on low. Medium should work well here. Stir the bread around the skillet, turning the cubes so they brown on all sides. When things look nice and golden, and most of the oil has been absorbed, remove croutons and transfer to an airtight container. The amount of salt you want to use depends on how many croutons you’re making. I had about 1 1/2 – 2 C croutons, and I sprinkled a generous teaspoon of sea salt over them. I sealed them in tight with a lid, and gave things a shake to coat. If you’re new to recipes that tell you to salt to taste, here’s the part where you take out a crouton or two or three and try them. Not enough salt? Add another half teaspoon. Keep them sealed in that container till you’re ready for dinner.