I hate making salads. It is usually the dish, I pass on to someone else when they want to bring something to dinner. What is it about washing some lettuce, chopping up some vegetables, and tossing it all together with a dressing, that I hate so much. It really does not take much time or thought for that matter, nor does making these crispy Homemade Croutons. My latest obsession.
When I do decide to make a salad it is very simple. Mixed greens, some red onion, maybe a little tomato and a vinegar and oil dressing. If I am feeling a bit adventurous and it is summer, I may mix it up by making a refreshing Caprese, using fresh heirloom tomatoes. Or maybe a green bean salad, using some of the summer’s bounty. And if I am really feeling it, I may add a grilled corn salad to the dinner menu. Otherwise, you will get a bowl of mixed greens next to your main entree.
The other evening we were invited to dinner and were asked to bring the “salad”. Damn! A salad! Really? On the way to dinner, we stopped by the market, and I decided to go a step further than mixed greens. I picked up some radishes, baby red onions, avocados, tomatoes, and croutons. God, I had not had a salad with crunchy croutons tossed into the mix in forever. I was actually excited to make this salad. Maybe it was the chance of nibbling on little buttery bites along the way. Well, it really did not matter, as I was excited to toss together this “simple green salad”. While I was slicing radishes, onions, and avocados, I had flashbacks to when I use to make croutons. What was I doing with a bag of pre-made croutons sitting on the counter, that cost me $2.99. I could have made them in a matter of minutes. They would have been fresh and even tastier than what was most likely a semi-stale bag of croutons.
That evening got me thinking. So, the next night, I laid out my salad fixings, pre-heat the oven and started making my own croutons. It is easy. It was creative. I used half a baguette, that I sliced in half, rubbed down with fresh garlic, drizzled with some olive oil and seasoned with fresh herbs. I then baked it all for a few minutes, and I had fresh and flavorful croutons. The mixed green salad had a bad rap at our house; well, not any longer.
Have you ever tried making homemade croutons? If so, what is your favorite flavor combination?
Recipe: Homemade Croutons
- 1/2 baguette, sliced in half
- 2 cloves of garlic, each cut in half
- a drizzle of olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs, of choice
- a sprinkle of Maldon or kosher salt
- a sprinkle of pepper or piment d’espelette
Heat oven to 425.
Rub each half of baguette with the garlic; all over the top, bottom and sides.
Cut into small bite-sized pieces. Lay the cut pieces of baguette on a cookie sheet, and drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.
Using your hands, mix the pieces of bread with the seasonings on the cookie sheet.
Slide it into the oven, and let bake until golden brown; about 3 – 5 minutes. It will depend on how hot your oven gets.
Remove from the oven, set aside until cool.