Do you like croutons on your salad, or even in your soup? I do! But instead of buying ready-made croutons, I like to make my own. I learned to make these when I worked at this cafe in Birdcage Walk when I was 18. That was the late ’80’s. It was Cafe Royale. That was me, back in the kitchen, making food, cranking The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Stooges and Bauhaus. I wish I could still do that. I really miss having the hardest decision I make in a day is what the lunch special will be. We used to make croutons out of all the random ends of French bread or sandwich bread we had. It was a pretty smart way to use up the quickly-getting-stale bits of leftover bread.
Did any of you hang out there when you were a teenager? C’mon, tell the truth. Rocky Horror at midnight? Crusin’ the parking lot? Yeah, I knew I recognized some of you.
You can use day-old bread if you have it, or just use whatever loaf you’ve got. I had a little sourdough loaf, which I felt would make good croutons for my Caesar salad.
Cut up into uniform cubes. You can make them as small or large as you wish, just so that they are the same size overall.
Gather up some flavorings. I’ve got butter, olive oil, garlic, chives and thyme. You need to use a fat (oil or butter, or both), and it’s good to use an herb of some sort. Any will work.
Melt the butter and add the same amount of oil. Lower the heat and add the garlic. Cook just for a minute, then turn off the heat.
Spread the bread cubes on a cookie sheet, and preheat the oven to 350*.
Pour the butter-oil-garlic mixture over the cubes.
Sprinkle on the herbs.
Toss the cubes in the oil and herbs until they are all coated.
Toast in the oven for 7 minutes, take out and shake around and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so. Keep an eye on them, you don’t want burnt croutons.
Toss them into a Caesar, or any other salad you wish!
Once you go homemade, you’ll never go back.