I feel like I’ve been eating a crazy amount of salads lately. Not salads in the loosely defined sense, but the kid-salad sense where salad = green leafy things topped with more veggies. (I always loved salads, I adored salad bars when I was a kid and didn’t think or worry about the reason the sneeze guard exists or is named as such.) I used to eat a basic green salad with most dinners, and then as I got more into eating seasonally and buying more produce at the Farmer’s Market and less at the grocery store I stopped this practice. Except of course when I crave a big green salad and go grab a head of trucked in romaine or red-leaf lettuce… Anyway. Friday night. It got late. There were too many choices in the fridge and something needed to be done. So we had salad for dinner. At um. 10 pm. At least it was good salad, topped with carrots, radishes, tomatoes (mmmm tomatoes), homemade ranch dressing and homemade croutons.
Have you made homemade croutons? They are delicious, the recipe we originally started using called for melted butter, but we have transitioned to using olive oil (honestly more out of laziness than worries about saturated fat). This time around we used two thick slices of whole wheat sandwich bread and Penzey’s Salad Sprinkle for the herbs and spices (side note: Salad Sprinkle makes a disappointing popcorn topping, but decent crouton seasoning). The bread type and the seasonings can change to suit your mood and salad.
Croutons loosely based out of a red & white checked binder cookbook (I believe it is The BH&G New Cook Book)
Note: if you make them in a toaster oven watch closely because either the time or temp needs to be adjusted, we lost a few to burnt blackness
- 2 slices bread, cut into 1/2″ – 1″ cubes
- olive oil (handful, probably a tablespoon)
- seasonings (garlic, salt, pepper, basil, etc for a few ideas)
- opt. freshly grated parmesan
Preheat the oven 300 F. Toss together the bread cubes and olive oil, until the bread cubes are coated nicely, sprinkle on your seasoning of choice (and parmesan if using) and toss to combine. Spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake until golden and crispy, probably about 10 minutes, unless you use a toaster oven – then less. Stir/turn/flip halfway through the cooking time.