Are you looking for a delicious way to pizzazz up your salads? Do you hate wasting food? Do you like having special touches to take meals from everyday to extraordinary? How about saving money at the grocery store - are you all about that? .............
............... If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you're going to LOVE these delightfully delicious, Garlicky Parmesan Croutons. They'll dress up your favorite salads, can be made ahead, freeze well and have the ability to reincarnate stale bread into something spectacular. They are also ridiculously inexpensive in comparison to commercial croutons.
Oh, and did I say they're delicious? Infused with fabulous garlic flavor, a touch of salty parmesan, crispy, crunchy, they're quite addictive on their own. Try sitting down next to a bowlful and eating just one or two ................ you'll see exactly what I mean!
Sometimes I serve these as a mouthwatering appetizer, beside a bowl of hummus or herbed olive oil. Guests can dip them, one at a time, savoring each tiny exploding-with-flavor bite after another ..........
P.S. You didn't think I'd end the week without teasing you just a bit, did you? Be sure to check back on Monday for our most favorite salad of the summer ................ Panazella w/ Fresh Corn, Avocado and Heirloom Tomatoes, a Café Sucré Farine twist on an Italian classic!
Garlicky Parmesan Croutons
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove minced garlic (or 2 small)
6 cups crustless cubed day-old bread* (cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
sea salt, I like Maldon Sea Salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
2. Place the garlic, butter and olive oil in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, remove bowl and stir. Return to microwave for another 30 seconds until butter is melted and garlic is fragrant. This may take another 10-20 seconds depending on your microwave.
3. Add cubed bread to bowl with butter mixture. Toss gently to coat. Immediately add Parmesan cheese, a sprinkle of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss again to coat.
4. Transfer bread mixture to a large baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes then remove, and stir. The croutons on the outside will tend to brown quicker than those in the center. Return to oven, and bake for about 15 more minutes or until crisp and golden. Allow to cool completely, then store in an airtight container. Can be frozen for several weeks in an airtight container or ziplock back. Bring to room temperature before serving.
You can really use any type of bread. I prefer an artisan-type bread, but you can use leftover hamburger buns, dinner rolls, sandwich bread, whole grain breads, baguettes, etc. The only kind of bread I wouldn't recommend is the super soft, white, squishy grocery store type.