There are a few things that are crazy easy, but make you look like a star in the kitchen. Croutons are one of them. Others? Making your own salad dressing, butter, popsicles, or drinks. All of them take just minutes, but look like Martha was there helping.
And the best part is, they start out with stale bread that you were thinking of throwing out anyway!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut up your loaf of bread (preferable a bit stale) into bite size/crouton looking pieces. Toss them with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
I sometimes add some other seasoning if I know what I’m going to use it for (italian, etc.- whatever would go with your soup or salad you’re going to use it with). You want all of the pieces of bread to have a very light coating of oil, with ample spices sprinkled throughout. If you over-oil they can be greasy, if you under-oil they won’t brown and dry out as well.
Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned and very crunchy. Toss a couple of times during cooking to be sure they’re evenly browned.
Store in a container or plastic bag up to two weeks at room temperature, and longer in the fridge. I even keep some in the freezer, and I re-crisp them in the oven after they’ve defrosted.
These are amazing on caesar salads, or a tossed green salad with caramelized pecans (recipe coming soon) and blue cheese. I used most of them this time to top a vegetable soup (I topped it with these, and cheese and broiled them a few minutes- amazing!). I’ll try to post the soup recipe this week.
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