Garlic Croutons

Category: Salads

Date: 08-29-2009

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Garlic Croutons         
Makes about 3 cups.           
2 large cloves garlic , finely minced or pressed through garlic press       
1/4 teaspoon table salt       
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil   
3 cups bread cubes (1/2 inch, from baguette or country loaf)      
1.      Adjust rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine garlic, salt,       
and oil in small bowl; let stand 20 minutes, then pour through fine-mesh strainer into medium   
bowl. Add bread cubes and toss to coat. Spread bread cubes in even layer on rimmed baking    
sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet to    
room temperature. (Can be covered and stored at room temperature up to 24 hours.)    
Butter Croutons        
Makes about 3 cups.           
Either fresh or stale bread can be used in this recipe, although stale bread is easier to cut     
and crisps more quickly in the oven. To use stale bread, reduce the baking time by about        
two minutes. Croutons made from stale bread will be more crisp than those made from fresh.   
Be sure to use regular or thick-sliced bread.        
6 slices white sandwich bread crusts removed and slices cut into -inch cubes (about 3 cups)    
Table salt and ground black pepper   
3 tablespoons unsalted butter         
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.      
Combine bread cubes and salt and pepper to taste in medium bowl. Drizzle        
with butter and toss well with rubber spatula to combine.  
2. Spread croutons in single layer on rimmed baking sheet or in shallow baking dish.      
Bake croutons, turning over at halfway mark, until golden brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.    
After cooling, croutons can be stored in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to 3 days.