After having declared that yesterday’s post on rice was last boring “how-to” kind of post I would do for a while, I decided to do one today as well. Though this is more interesting than rice. Not that that would be difficult. Anyway, I thought I would do a post on croutons, as homemade ones are simple and delicious, totally different from the hideous dried out crusts I sometimes encounter in cafe salads. Making your own croutons really only takes a matter of minutes, and is a great way to use up bread that is getting hard. They turn out hot, crisp, salty and totally irresistible, and add the final touch to a salad or coup. The only hard part is not eating them before they make it to the table (this is genuinely a problem – I nearly had to make a second batch).
Thick slices of homemade/quality bread
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Cut the bread into squares, about 2 cm length and width. Drizzle a baking dish with oil, and place the squares of bread into the dish. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them. Top with more oil, and put them to bake. Check frequently – they take roughly 15 minutes, but will go from undercooked to charcoal extremely quickly. They are done when they are golden brown and crisp. It is a good idea to turn them over part way through the cooking, to ensure that they turn brown on both sides. If you like the totally dried out version of croutons (much prefer them crisp but still soft) then bake them for much longer – more like 45 minutes – and turn them frequently.
I haven’t tried it, but interesting additons would be adding herbs, fresh or dried. I can imagine thyme being very good with them. You could also experiment with different flavours of salt – garlic, olive etc.