Garlicky Croutons (the essential salad topping)

Serves 4-6 16 June 2021 Dairy Free Vegetarian Friendly
The search for the essential salad topping as we ease into the al fresco summer dining season is real.  And these garlic croutons not only fit the bill but they are also a staple in my waste-not-want not series of what-to-do-with-the-leftovers.  If you are new to these pages, I should probably let you know that one of my weekly kitchen challenges is to use up all the old scraps and sad ends around the place to create something irresistibly appealing and moreish.  Here is my favourite solution for retiring bread ends.

These garlicy, crispy edged imperfectly delicious croutons began life in the good old days when I had rhythm to my mornings and baked numerous loaves of sourdough every week. The thought of discarding the inevitable leftover ends or half loaves not consumed in their prime broke my heart and thus croutons and stashes of breadcrumbs in the freezer became the norm.  

But even when incredible sourdough from those awesome bakeries on the other side of town became available in my hood and the ancient, beloved starter finally died in the back of the fridge, leftover ends of sourdough still needed love and attention.  And garlic croutons are just what every fresh plate of vegetables needs for crunch and zing and fabulousness. 

I like to make these crispy edged garlic morsels of pure joy using only the middle of the bread. Then I blitz the crusts into breadcrumbs and store them in the freezer for a rainy day to make zesty breadcrumbs, schnitzel coating or treacle tart.

Note: There is no need to  restrict yourself to sourdough croutons, it just happens to be the mainstream bread of choice around here.  I also make these with leftover challah or brioche, or basically any loaf ends.

These can be made a couple of days in advance and kept in an airtight container.  Just make sure you don’t eat them all before you use them on your salads and sides.

If you are using confit garlic oil, feel free to smoosh a few of the confit garlic cloves all over the bread too for added caramelised garlicky sweetness.

Garlicky Croutons

  • 150g leftover sourdough bread (or any bread hanging around)
  • 1 tbsp garlic oil or olive oil + 1  garlic clove thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • a very good pinch of salt
  • Preheat oven to 200C (400F)
  • Hollow out the inside of your loaf of bread with your hands (caveman style), and tear the bread into bitesize irregular pieces and place in a sheet pan.  This allows for maximum toasty crispness.  

Keep the crusts and blitz in a food processor to make breadcrumbs for the freezer (to use another day).

If you are using garlic oil, drizzle over the bread pieces.  If you are using regular olive oil, add a thinly sliced clove of garlic to the pan with the crumbs.  

Remove the needles from the rosemary sprig and sprinkle over the bread with a very good pinch of salt and mix everything together.  

Toast in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to ensure even browning and crunchiness.  Allow an hour or so to cool completely before using to ensure maximum crunch.


Have you made this dish?

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