So this isn’t my typical high tech post but I do like to cook, and I figured I’d share one of my recipes. This is something I’ve just recently started because I absolutely love the croutons you get when eating out at places like the Outback and Salt Grass steakhouses. Those hard, flavorless cubes of stale bread that pass as croutons from the grocery store are just lame. After a little bit of searching on the internet I found a few ideas of how to replicate the restaurant croutons, and after a little experimentation this is what I’ve come up with. When you master this you will never again buy croutons from the store.
Ok, so here is a list of what you need:
- 4 slices Texas toast
- 4 TBsp Butter (I use regular but you can use unsalted if you’d like)
Herbs (this is up to you but I like a standard Italian crouton)
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
I prefer to cut the crust off of each slice of bread in order to avoid the hardened texture that can come from an overly toasted crust. After that, cube the bread into the size you prefer and put them into a 350 deg oven for approximately 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them!
Next is the butter, which needs to be the consistency of thin mayo. The way I do it is to slice the butter and place into a large stainless steel bowl. When the bread comes out I turn off the oven and put the bowl into the oven for about 30 seconds. It doesn’t take long and if you end up melting the butter too much, just place the bowl in the freezer for a minute or so. This is important because if the butter is too thin, it will just soak into the bread rather than sticking to the outside of the cubes holding the herbs in place.
Next mix in the herbs and put the bread cubes in the bowl. Stir well until the bread cubes are evenly coated. I prefer to use the dry herbs because they tend to distribute more evenly. You’ll notice that I didn’t mention how much to put in. I don’t measure this and it really is a personal preference on how you want them to taste. Place these back onto a sheet pan, preferably on a rack to allow for the butter to melt off, and place into a 350 deg oven. Now the crucial part; walk away for even a minute too long and you will end up with burnt croutons. This is like making garlic bread where it will go from good eats to burned dog food in a heartbeat. Don’t be afraid to take it out and try one periodically.
And now the coup de grace. The following picture was my wife’s idea because she wanted to show them in all their glory. It was a great idea with a black place mat, a silver bowl I inherited from my mom, and a couple fresh basil leaves. These croutons have just enough crunch to provide a contrasting texture while not breaking a tooth.
If you do it right they will be just as good as those you enjoy when eating out. It may take a few tries to perfect but the work will be worth it. Enjoy!