Thursday, June 27, 2013

Spicy Garlic and Fresh Herb Croutons

* Weeknight Winner *

After trying these, you’ll never eat the store-bought, cardboard version again. They will keep for a day or two (I store them in a Ziploc bag with a paper towel inside) but are best eaten immediately. And trust me, little hands will sneak in and pilfer quickly!

Spicy Garlic and Fresh Herb Croutons
Serves 4-6

2 cups best-quality olive oil
6 cloves garlic, smashed
Pinch red pepper flakes
3 tbsp butter
1 boule sourdough, 1 batard French, or freshly baked loaf of your choice, crust removed and torn into bite-size pieces (do not use sandwich bread!)
2 tsp each fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt and pepper

Place oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in a sauce pan and cook over lowest heat until aromatic, about 30 minutes. (If you have a gas stove, you might want to put the sauce pan in a sauté pan to keep the heat low enough). You’re looking for hot oil, not boiling.

Strain the oil into a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Add butter and when almost melted, add bread. When bread starts to turn a golden brown, toss every few minutes until all of the oil is absorbed and the bread pieces are a deep golden color. Turn off heat and immediately sprinkle with a large pinch of sea salt, black pepper and the fresh herbs. Toss to coat. Serve on your favorite salad or alongside roasted meat or chicken.

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