Here you can learn how to make croutons, a great addition to many soups and salads. When I use this pan fried crouton recipe, everyone in the family wants more salad, even those funny little guys who normally grimace over their greens.
The word crouton comes directly from the French word croûte, meaning crust. They have been added to soups for centuries, and the grand classic French onion
soup is always crowned with crunchy bread cubes. In France croutons might also be incorporated into an omelet or served on top of various vegetable purees.
These days you can buy croutons in packages. Although salty and crunchy, most packaged croutons resemble cardboard more then anything else. Homemade croutons are flavorful and satisfying and making your own is dead easy -- definitely doable at the last minute.
Besides adding great taste to salads and soups, croutons make excellent use of stale bread, a very common resource here in France. I usually use a baguette to make croutons, because that's what we have lying around. You can use other breads to make croutons, but this recipe works best on airy breads that are a bit dried out already. Some people cut the crust off of the bread before making croutons, but there's not much left to a baguette after you remove the crust, so I definitely leave it on.
3 cups or so of bread, cut into 1 inch cubes, or another size if you prefer
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
Melt the butter and olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium heat.
When the butter is melted, add the cubed bread.
Stir and turn the bread frequently until it is golden on all sides - about five minutes.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder (but don't burn your mouth on those hot croutons!)
Storage and Recipe Suggestions
Ok, I know someone wants to know if you can store these. They should be fine for a day or so if you store them at room temperature in an air tight container. However, these are so delicious that I don't think they'll last but a couple hours.
Now that you know how to make croutons, try them on any one of these tasty (and easy) French soups: