|Store-bought croutons get a flavor boost from butter, garlic and herbs.|
In a perfect world, nearly everything we consume would be fresh and homemade: Just-from-the-oven rolls at dinnertime, newly-caught fish in the frying pan, sun-ripened tomatoes still warm in your salad.
Most of us are lucky to enjoy one or two of these at a meal. More often than not, busy lives force us to rely on more than one purchased item at most mealtimes.
My eating habits have changed drastically since I began blogging eight years ago. I make much more from scratch. I have yet to make salad croutons from scratch; there is, however, a loaf of bread in my freezer awaiting this
Following a late afternoon meeting this week, I scrambled together a supper salad of fresh broccoli and the remnants of a bag of farm-market mixed greens, plus some grated cheese and bacon bits. I scrounged around and found a half-bag of croutons in the cupboard.
(Pre-made croutons are a secondary staple in my kitchen. I can do without them, but when I remember, I buy a bag or two because I find a touch of carb adds staying power to a salad meal.)
Giving pre-made croutons a flavor boost is simple. You will need:
- 1-2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1 teaspoon garlic or onion powder, or 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped or sliced onion
- 3/4 cup pre-made croutons
- dash herbes de Provence or parsley
Melt butter in a small-to-medium frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and brown slightly. Toss in croutons, turning them over with a spatula or wooden spoon to coat all sides. Lower the heat and allow them to sit for about 5 minutes before adding them to your salad.
Voila! The result is delicious croutons that taste freshly made and are a bit chewier and denser than straight-from-the-bag croutons. You can even refresh stale croutons using this method, or by roasting them in a low-temp oven as you would walnuts.