The lettuce in our garden is out of control, it's coming on like a chia pet and it just doesn't stop...so salads every night for dinner it is! I definitely can't complain because every off season, I am yearning for fresh plucked produce when imported vegetables taste like plastic..and besides, who doesn't love a fresh summery salad, especially when that salad is loaded with crunchy, homemade croutons?!
Croutons are so easy to make, you will wonder why you tossed that day old bread out to the birds...although, I'm sure the birds thank you!!
To make these flavourful salad toppers, all you need is some crusty bread, day old is best ( I used about half of a large baguette), fresh parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic cloves, fresh chives and some salt and pepper.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees then, in a saucepan add a 1/3 cup of olive oil...
....1 heaping Tbsp. of chopped fresh chives and 3 large garlic cloves (I like to crush my garlic cloves just to release a bit more flavour).
Let the chives and crushed garlic simmer on low heat in the olive oil for about 15 minutes and then get a load of my water stained stove top, lots of boiled over pots at my house!...it's atrocious!
Remove saucepan from heat and then discard the garlic clove pieces (or save them for sauces if you wish...I did not wish as I know that I would forget about them and have a sloppy mess of mushy garlic in my fridge for a month reeking up the joint!)...set chive oil aside.
Next, slice the bread (approx. a 1/2 inch but you can slice the pieces to desired thickness)...
...then cut into cubes and toss into a large bowl.
Pour the oil over top of bread cubes...
...use your hands to mix the bread and oil making sure that all cubes are coated nicely!
Spread bread cubes onto a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper to taste, then bake in your preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
Remove from oven then sprinkle a 1/4 cup of finely shredded fresh parmesan cheese over top then return pan to the oven for an additional 10 minutes...
...or until golden brown and crunchy.
...and there ya go! Super simple homemade croutons made in a jiff for salads, soups or even just to snack on! ("Jiff"...my Gramma always said that...love the old school terms and these croutons...they're both swell!)
Parmesan, Garlic & Chive Croutons
1/2 of a large baguette (day old is best)
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 heaping Tbsp. of chopped fresh chives
3 large garlic cloves (I crush them with the flat side of a kitchen knife)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of finely shredded fresh parmesan cheese
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, then slice the baguette into about a 1/2 inch thickness, then cut slices into cubes.
2. In a saucepan add oil, chopped chives and garlic cloves...set on low heat and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and discard the garlic cloves.
3. Dump bread cubes into a bowl, then pour oil over top...mix together with your hands ensuring that all of the chunks are coated with oil.
4. Spread bread cubes onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper to taste and bake in your preheated oven for 10 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and spread shredded parmesan over top...return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden and crunchy.
* Store leftover croutons in an airtight container in your pantry