How To Make Croutons For Salad

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Butter garlic croutons

Butter garlic croutons

Can’t help saying again and again that cooking, baking and food are just so exciting! I am always thrilled when I discover and experience a new food or a new dish. Eating is fun but cooking is even more fun. It is so satisfying and therapeutic.

I know a lot of you may not agree. That’s because you have not discovered it. I went through that stage, too, until I threw myself into the kitchen to try and try. Made many blunders and the food ended up in the thrash bin…..of course without telling anyone….*big wink*. Bought lots and lots of cookbooks with beautiful pictures just to enjoy looking before going to bed every night. Did it work? Of course it did. I reached a point where I couldn’t contain my curiosity and desire to eat and serve my family good food. That’s when my cooking journey began….until today. Just look at my Recipe section and you can see how many recipes I have tried just within these 2 years of blogging.

Now, croutons is my latest discovery, not that I had not tried it before but it is totally different when I ate it last week. It was just SO good. You see, a┬ávery good friend, also by the name of Mary, gave me a lovely treat to an Italian restaurant last week. It was a meet-up that’s hard to come by. We had been trying to meet up for the past 1+ year but never succeeded. It’s either she travelled or I travelled or other commitments cropped up. It was a fabulous few hours in the restaurant, just chatting and enjoying the food.

See what I had here.

Filled mushroom for starter

Filled mushroom for starter

Oh, I really love this starter……filled mushrooms drizzled over with a beautiful balsamic sauce. I need to try making that too. The big and thick mushrooms give a lovely, juicy bite bursting with cheesy flavour….mmmm…..really good.

Cajun chicken salad

Cajun chicken salad

I love Mexican food and when I saw this cajun chicken salad, I knew I had to go for it. Well, it was just average I would say. It was mainly lettuce and some baby tomatoes. I would prefer a different mix of vegetables. And I still prefer my Thai dressing to the creamy dressing with grated cheese. But of course I can’t be choosy. This is Italian restaurant, not Thai restaurant!

However, something in my salad really drew my attention…..CROUTONS! I had croutons before but they tasted different. The ones in my salad were bigger, more chewy and full of flavour…..very delicious! When I came back all I want was those croutons. I knew I have to make them. These would be so good in my Thai salad, my latest food craze. It all started from my Simple And Easy Thai Beef Salad. I LOVE salad. It’s so healthy, so refreshing and so delicious. Will share more about salad in another post.

If you are from the West, this would probably be easy peasy for you but for those who come from Asia, like me, we grew up eating mainly cooked food. I think the only uncooked vegetable that I ate was cucumbers which we grew lots, and sometimes tomatoes.

Ciabatta bread

Ciabatta bread

The very next day, off to the supermarket I went…….for bread. To be honest, I have never been so excited to buy bread! I even feel strange myself. The bread is the most important. It has to be a tougher, chewy one and one that can soak up the butter or oil. Looking through the many shelves of bread, I finally decided to go for ciabatta.

Back home from the supermarket, my croutons-making begun. It has to be very simple ingredients to give it that beautiful buttery and garlicky flavour.

Ingredients
ciabatta bread
butter/olive oil
garlic (peeled and chopped)

There’s no measurement here because you can adjust the amount depending on how garlicky and buttery/oily you want it to be. I love garlic so I added quite a lot. You do need enough butter/oil so that the croutons will be delicious.

cut ciabatta

cut ciabatta

Cut up the ciabatta into pieces, depending on personal preference. Mine is quite big pieces.

Fry garlic in butter

Fry garlic in butter

Add the butter and garlic into a frying pan. Fry a little while. Add the ciabatta pieces and keep frying until they turn golden but not crispy. Dish up. You can enjoy it as a snack or add it to salad.

The croutons were chewy and very delicious. You want to know how delicious they are? Before I could use it for my salad, they were almost all gone!! They were just like what I ate at the Italian restaurant! I was so happy…success at first attempt…yippee….*BIG smiles*. They were SO good with salad.

Baked garlic croutons

Baked garlic croutons

Then I tried it again the next day but this time I cut the bread into smaller pieces and used olive oil instead. I fried it a short while and then put into the oven (at 180 degrees Celsius) to crisp up a little. I left it a little too long and they turned crispy. They are still flavourful and delicious but I prefer the first one for my salad….bigger pieces and chewy, soaked in garlic butter….very addictive! The crispy one is also very delicious. My children like them very much.

It is easier to bake the croutons because you can make 2-3 trays in one go and also less greasy. I prefer this option.

Croutons in sald

Croutons in salad

Hope you will give this garlic croutons a try, whether to add to your salad or as a snack. They are just too good not to enjoy them unless you hate garlic. But garlic is so good for health! I will be making lots more, especially to go with my salad (top picture).

Have fun cooking! As for me, I think I have to learn how to make ciabatta bread next…..*smile*

Quote of the day……

“People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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24 Comments

I beat Joyce AGAIN!  on July 13th, 2011

YESSSSSS!!!!!!

I beat Joyce AGAIN!  on July 13th, 2011

Oh Mary trust me, I’m very familiar with your recipes section. Haha. I must say though, you’ve got some pretty funny titles to some of your posts.

What was in the filled mushroom? Just cheese? I’m more of a veggie person so I know I’d clean this plate with no problem. Yes, garlic lover right here! I think I’d enjoy the first batch better. Come on, bread soaked with garlic and butter? Who wouldn’t love that? I’d totally eat those croutons by themselves like popcorn. Haha. Really need to try this some time. Hope you have a lovely day, Mary.

Joyce: 3 1 2 ping ping ping…toink toink toink…jeng jeng jeng…and last but not least, KABOOM! But always kulepssssss! :D

somewhere in singapore  on July 13th, 2011

hungry for it… lol

anncoo  on July 13th, 2011

I’ve never heard of croutons before but it does looks familiar like those I’m having at Mediterranean restaurant, dipping the hard bread in olive oil.
I think your method is not bad at all, I want to try some too :)

Von  on July 13th, 2011

I know exactly what you mean ;) Trying out something new is always so fun…and even better when it’s really successful! :D I love big croutons! These look really yummy ;) even if a little unhealthy….haha :D

uncle Lee  on July 13th, 2011

Hi Mary….you’ve done it again! You spoiling me! And I eat to live, not live to eat, ha ha….but dropping by here….I get ideas…..and my wife wondering where I get my cake, food ideas, ha ha ha.

Glad you not my neighbour, ha ha ha…..or else will find excuse drop by for coffee….

Mary, here’s something that might get you all shook up…..
Elvis Presley’s favourite pound cake. His mom Glady’s used to bake for him, later his personal chef.

ELVIS PRESLEY’S POUND CAKE.
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 pound butter, softened
7 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups cake flour, sifted twice, divided
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Thoroughly cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Mix in half the flour, then the whipping cream , then the other half of the flour.
Add vanilla extract. Pour batter into prepared pan. Set in a COLD oven and turn heat to 350 degrees F.

Bake 60 to 70 minutes, until a sharp knife inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool thoroughly.

This is best made when playing an Elvis CD, ha ha….
Send me a telegram if you try it….
Lee.

Quay Po  on July 13th, 2011

Mary, both Quay Lo and I are big ciabatta fans. I have never thought of making croutons out of it. Brilliant!

Belinda @zomppa  on July 13th, 2011

Eating, cooking, they are both wonderful, an a I wouldn’t know what to do without

rebecca  on July 13th, 2011

wow awesome croutons interesting tip on the salt in lemonade

Lose to Superman AGAIN!!  on July 13th, 2011

Noooooooooooooooo!!!

peachkins  on July 13th, 2011

I don’t usually put croutons in my salads.. I put them in soups!

Lisa H.  on July 13th, 2011

very nice indeed… love croutons in my soup, salad or even as snack :D

Jeannie  on July 13th, 2011

We always fight for the crispy bits of croutons in salads whenever we ordered that in restaurants…now I can make this and eat to my heart’s content lol! mmm…not too much though, for obvious:P

Jeannie  on July 13th, 2011

sorry the last word “reason” missing from the above post lol!

Angie's Recipes  on July 14th, 2011

That Cajun salad looks so GREAT!! I like to make my own croutons for salad too.

ruth  on July 14th, 2011

the salad looks delicious!

Mary  on July 14th, 2011

@I beat Joyce AGAIN! - Haha…you did! :D Wha…you sue have stalked my blog a lot! :D I’m not sure what’s in the fulling for the mushrooms. I’m sure cheese is one of them. But it’s really good. You’ll get to eat lots of the croutons when you come!

@somewhere in singapore - Time to make these :D

@anncoo - I have never tried dipping brad into olive oil. I think with the garlic, it’s even better. Give a try. It’s really delicious :D

@Von - Use olive oil and it becomes healthier :D Hope you have lots of fun cooking and baking.

@uncle Lee - Yes, I eat to live too but break all the rules every now and then just for some extra sparks in life :P If you are my neighbour, I think everyday you will follow the smell….haha. I will have drinks ever ready then, for you and your wife :D Thanks very much for the cake recipe. I have to try that some day. Wait for the telegram, ok?

@Quay Po - Oh, then all the more you must try this…really good :D

@Belinda @zomppa - Your world and my world will stop spinning…haha :D

@rebecca - Thanks very much, Rebecca! :D

@Lose to Superman AGAIN!! - Ooops….sorry! :(

@peachkins - I have to try them in soup next time. Got to be good…mmmm :D

@Lisa H. - Thanks very much, Lisa! I will try in soup next time :D

@Jeannie - Yes, you can make yourself easily at home, especially you are so good in baking bread! I wish I can bake like you. I just go for the easy way…buy from shop :D

@Angie’s Recipes - Great to know that you make your own croutons too :D

@ruth - Thanks very much, Ruth! :D

Barbara  on July 14th, 2011

I pick the croutons off everyone’s salad around the dinner table! I’m a crouton-addict. I need help! I make them a lot, but yours look so buttery and garlicy…will try your recipe.
Ina Garten serves her roast chicken over croutons…all those lovely juices drip all over them. Yum.

Cathy at Wives with Knives  on July 14th, 2011

I agree with you that croutons add so much to a salad. I like to munch on them as a snack too. I always add lots of garlic.

Faith  on July 14th, 2011

Homemade croutons are such a tasty addition to salads…these look great, Mary! I also love stuffed mushrooms! :)

Janice  on July 14th, 2011

Gorgeous generous helpings of crouton. That crunchy texture really works in a salad and also in soup. Love them.

Blackswan  on July 14th, 2011

I love croutons & can never do without esp when having soups! Nice one, Mary!

You may wanna go crazy over my Angry Birds Recipe Collection @ <a href=”Angry Birds Onigiri Lunch Box (Part II)!

Blackswan  on July 14th, 2011

Oops, here’s the link! Angry Birds Onigiri Lunch Box (Part II)!

lena  on July 15th, 2011

thanks for sharing the way for making croutons, yeah i think the frying ones taste better even though the baked ones are healthier. btw, i’ve made the cake that uncle lee provided here, it’s called elvis presley pound cake, a very delicious pound cake!

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