In one of my first posts, I mentioned that croutons are one of the items that I no longer buy. I found a recipe by Guy Fieri years ago and I haven’t messed with it much. But in those early posts, I put links instead of actual recipes. As I made some of these nuggets o’ splendor today, I figured that it’s high time to write the actual recipe down and post it.
Guy’s recipe calls for stale bread. I rarely have that around because crouton-makin’ bread usually gets eaten before it can get stale in this house. A regular baguette works just fine for it; it has the right “inside,” too, because it doesn’t have too large of air pockets in it. If you want to spice it up, add more cayenne to the seasoning blend.
The hardest part, if there is one, is making the garlic paste. You can buy it, of course. But making it is simple. For this recipe, I use 4 cloves of garlic. All you have to do is peel the cloves, cut the stem part off, and smash it with the side of a chef’s knife. Then, sprinkle some salt on the smashed cloves (like 1/8 tsp.), and start smearing it across the cutting board with the side of your knife, back and forth, until it gets sticky and paste-y. There will still be a few garlic fibers in it, but that’s okay. Easy as a hooker with an oral fixation.
Easy Homemade Croutons (based on Guy Fieri’s recipe)
Makes A Lot (How’s that for specifics?)
1 regular baguette, cut into 1″ cubes (or enough bread to make 4 to 5 cups o’ cubes)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp. paprika (I have used smoked paprika, too, and it’s pretty damn good for a variation.)
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried basil
2 to 3 tsp. garlic paste (see above in the intro)
1/3 cup o’ olive oil
Preheat the oven to 325°.
Combine all of the ingredients except the bread in a small bowl. Put the bread cubes in a big tossing bowl (a toss pot, if you will). Pour the oily herby mixture over the bread cubes. Using your hands or a big ol’ spoon, toss the bread with the seasonings until all of the bread cubes are well covered in it.
Spread the cubes out on a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake these for 30 minutes, turning them once after 15 minutes of baking. Remove them from the oven and let cool until you’re ready to use them. Store whatever you don’t use in an airtight container. Piece of cake.
Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.
©Jon Marino 2013