Our idea of croutons on salad (photo courtesy MorningStar Farms.
 Premium dried oregano from Rancho Gordo.
We love good bread. Buttery or cracker-dry, fine or rustic crumb, plain or seasoned, tall or flat, soft or crusty, made with any type of flour, with or without inclusions (cheese, dried fruits, nuts…): All are welcome.
If you’re a bread lover, you’re likely a crouton lover, too. Can there be too many croutons served with salad or soup?
Maybe, but the bar is high.
When we saw this photo from MorningStar Farms, we were decided that our lunch would be salad with a topping of croutons. Big, garlicky ones, like crunchy garlic bread.
You don’t have to toss them on the salad. If you prefer, serve them on the side.
RECIPE: HERBED CROUTONS
You can make croutons in whatever size and shape you like—even using cookie cutters for hearts or other shapes. The ingredients are similar; only the size of the bread varies.
For jumbo croutons, look for an oblong loaf so you can cut biscotti- or mini-biscotti-size slices as shown in the photo. We used a ciabatta loaf.
1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F, with a rack positioned in the center.
2. ADD the oil to a saucepan, along with the the garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes; discard the garlic.
3. TOSS the bread cubes in a bowl toss with the seasoned oil. Spread them onto a jelly-roll pan (a baking sheet with a rim) and bake them for 8 minutes.
4. SPRINKLE the croutons with the parmesan and bake them for another 7 minutes, or until they are golden brown (if you’re not using cheese, simply bake for the additional 7 minutes). Remove from the oven.
5. TASTE a crouton and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper as desired. Cool. Croutons will keep in an airtight container for a week. for tossed green salad.
Too many croutons? You can pulse them into bread crumbs.
*Stuff with a protein salad: chicken, crab, egg, tuna or shrimp salad.
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