It's funny what the most prominent memories can be sometimes. I distinctly remember, summers growing up with my dad grilling some steak or chicken, making a really big salad and topping with homemade croutons. And while I'm sure during those years I had salads with store bought croutons, I definitely don't remember anything other than the ones made from scratch. He would use some old and stale bread, chop it up, and top our salads with them. I remember also the first time I ever made them for Frank, absolutely blowing his mind that there was anything other than something than what came in the bag from the grocery store. Since then, when I have some extra bread - you best be sure that I'm topping my salads with these.
It's maybe the easiest thing you'll ever cook, but it is worth the 5 to 10 minutes to elevate your salads (or soups!) I like to use both olive old and butter for these. They have different flavor profiles, and necessary (I think). I start with about 1 1/2 cups of diced bread. We keep our bread in the freezer, so I'll toast it quickly to thaw it out and make it a little stale. Dice into cubes. Over medium to high heat, melt down 1 tablespoon of butter (I use dairy free) and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When it starts to bubble, toss in your bread and toss quickly to coat completely. I'll then sprinkle salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, minced onion and basil. I like using dried as I feel it sticks better onto each piece of bread, and doesn't burn as quickly if you use fresh garlic or onion. Toss to coat and lower heat to medium. Keep an eye on them, as they can burn quickly. I like to toss them every few minutes as they brown and get crispy. Overall, I cook these for about 5-10 minutes depending on how much bread I am making - salads for 2 take less time, than a salad for a party.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 5-10 minutes
1 1/2 cups cubed bread - stale if you can.
1 tablespoon butter (I like this avocado oil version)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Over medium to high heat, melt butter and olive oil in saute pan.
Dice bread into cubes. When butter starts to bubble, toss bread into pan and coat evenly.
Sprinkle all seasonings on top, and toss to coat. Lower heat to medium.
Toss every few minutes until crispy and slightly browned.
Top salads or soup. Best if eaten that same day.