Jen's Tasty Garlicky Croutons
This is a merger of two crouton recipes. Bother were similar in their preparation but one had better texture and the other better flavors. So I decided to bring together the best of each recipe to create one amazing version. The key to great croutons is to cook them very, very slowly. When toasted over high heat, croutons become a little dry; these absorb the oil and butter through the slow cooking, and the result is croutons that are crunch and bursting with the flavor of the oil when you bite into them. Serve on soups, salads or just as a tasty snack.
- 1-2 garlic cloves peeled
- extra-virgin olive oil OR garlic oil from Garlic Confit (see separate recipe) See note below regarding garlic oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter 1 ounce
- ½-¾ loaf ciabatta cut into ¾-inch cubes
- 1 tbsp finely grated Parmesan (optional)
- ¼ tsp salt
- Grate garlic cloves into paste using rasp-style grater. You'll need ½ teaspoon of garlic paste.
- Cut ciabatta into ¾-inch cubes (approximately ? cups). Reserve any remaining bread for another use.
- Pour ⅙-inch of oil into a large sauté pan and heat over medium heat until hot.
- Spread the bread in a single layer in the pan (if your pan is not large enough, these can be cooked in two smaller pans).
- Add the butter. The oil and butter should be bubbling, but if you hear sizzling, then heat is too high. Adjust the heat as necessary, and stir the croutons as they cook.
- Cook until the croutons are crisp and a beautiful rich golden brown on all sides (15-20 minutes).
- Remove the skillet from the heat. Push the croutons to the sides to clear the center. Add the garlic mixture to the clearing and cook with residual heat, about 10 seconds.
- Sprinkle with salt and Parmesan; toss until croutons are evenly coated. Transfer croutons to a paper towel⅙ lined plate to drain excess oil. Move croutons to a clean bowl or add to your favorite dish and enjoy. Leftover croutons can be reheated in a low oven before serving, if necessary.
If you don't have any garlic oil on hand, pour 1/8-inch of canola oil into a sauté pan, add 5 crushed, peeled garlic cloves, and heat over low heat until the garlic cloves are golden brown, flipping the cloves from time to time. Remove the garlic cloves and use the oil for the croutons. For a more mild garlic flavor, use just the garlic oil and omit the paste. Or do both for a more garlicky punch.