Garlic Croutons and Seasoned Croutons can really make a salad or soup stand out, and they’re not at all hard to make (like I said, “15 minute flavor bombs”). Let’s walk through making some garlic croutons for a Caesar Salad.
Garlic Crouton Ingredients
Serves 4 (Makes 3 cups of croutons)
2 medium garlic cloves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
3 cups torn 1″ pieces country bread, with crust
How to Make Garlic Croutons
Make your homemade garlic croutons by hand-tearing country bread with crusts into 1″ bite-sized pieces. Hand tearing the bread rather than cutting with a knife ensures greater surface area. That ensures more penetration of your flavor ingredients (garlic infused olive oil and Parmesan cheese here) and uniform crispness throughout–no soft middle.
Hand tear that country bread. Ain’t no big thang!
And before you ask, no, you don’t need fancy bread. It doesn’t have to be French or any other thing. The bread is going to be dried out. It can even be a bit stale. All the flavor is coming from the oil and seasonings. The role of the bread is to provide crunchy texture and a substrate for that flavor.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 medium cloves of minced garlic. Whisk for 30 seconds.
Transfer to a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and press with the back of a spoon to extract as much oil as you can. Reserve the garlic left behind. This gives you garlic-infused olive oil for your croutons.
Forget that mincing and whisking. Pull out your little food processor. Toss the peeled garlic cloves in with the oil and let ‘er rip. Boom-Done!
Add bread to the olive oil and toss to coat. Toss as you pour or the top pieces will soak up all the oil. If you have to dribble a little extra so nobody goes thirsty, no worries.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan and toss again.
Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and bake until croutons are golden brown and crips. Should be about 15 minutes.
Note: Once they brown, they brown fast, so keep eyes peeled!
Remove from oven and toss with 2 more tablespoons of Parmesan which will melt onto the hot croutons.
Seasoned Crouton Ideas
- Use a varient of this recipe to make the croutons for French Onion soup.
- Choose your own seasonings–croutons don’t have to use garlic. Making a Taco Salad? Try some spices that work for Mexican food. You can put whatever dry spices or fresh herbs you like on the bread, plus the olive oil, and it’ll all work just fine.