Vegetables are great, and everything, but the bread's where it's AT.
I like to make my own, using random bits of bread that accumulate in the freezer, fridge, and on the countertops.
It's easy! You can add more or less flavorings, but my favorite basic croutons taste like garlic bread, and they're GOOD.
Here's what you need:
- bread - I like frozen old bits; they hold up to the cooking better
- olive oil
- garlic powder
See this great bread? It's easy to cut because it's frozen, and my mama made it.
Use a sharp or serrated knife to cut the bread into cubes. While you're doing that, heat a pan to medium heat with equal parts butter and olive oil - start with 1 tablespoon of each and add more later if you need it!
When the pan and fat are hot, add the bread to the pan and swirl the cubes around to coat them in the butter and oil.
Now, using zero measuring, lightly sprinkle the bread cubes with salt, garlic powder, and a little pepper. Use a spoon or pan-flipping wizardry to toss the croutons all around.
Let the croutons cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until they're crispy and starting to harden. Taste a few to see if you need to add more seasoning! If you're making a lot like I was here, add more butter or oil 2 tablespoons at a time until all the bread is coated, then just keep tossing the croutons around until they harden!
Now, if you want to go all out, sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the croutons and give them one final toss before you take them out of the pan - crispy cheese is a very happy thing to have happen to your croutons!
When you're satisfied that your croutons are salty, buttery, garlicky, and crunchy enough, remove them to a plate to cool and try not to eat them all while you make your salad!
You can certainly make these ahead of time - keep them in an airtight container or zipper bag until you're ready to use them. If they get a bit soggy toast them in a toaster oven or on a pan under a broiler for just a few minutes - they'll spring right back to their original crunch!
My favorite salad to serve these with is Caesar, which is always a treat when you make your own dressing.
Serve these with any salad you like, though, and people will be your friend.