Crescent City Croutons
Yield 1 -1/2 Quarts
1 DAY OLD FRENCH BREAD LOAF
3 OZ EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
2 TSP GRANULATED GARLIC
1 TBSP PICKLED GARLIC (Crushed then minced fine)
1 TSP GRANULATED ONION
1 TSP SPANISH PAPRIKA
1/2 TSP GROUND CAYENNE PEPPER
1/4 TSP GROUND WHITE PEPPER
1/4 TSP FINE GROUND BLACK PEPPER
1/2 TSP WHOLE DRIED THYME LEAVES
1/2 TSP DRIED SWEET BASIL LEAVES
1/2 TSP WHOLE OREGANO LEAVES (Required for Italian flavored croutons, optional for Cajun/Creole flavored)
Cut French bread lengthwise (like you would for a po-boy). Then cut the French bread lengthwise with two or three cuts from the top to the bottom. Next cut the bread across, this will produce (4 or 6) cubes of bread about 3/4 of an inch thick.
Place the cubed bread in a large bowl that slopes to a small bottom. This will direct excess oil and seasonings towards the bottom of the bowl. Add the bread to the bowl and all of the seasonings. Toss gently for several minutes, it is important to insure that the seasonings are distributed evenly and that the oil is completely saturated by the bread.
Arrange the croutons on a 1/2 size baking sheet pan. Insure that the cubes are evenly spaced and that no two cubes are on top of each other.
Preheat oven to 350F, place the baking sheet in the oven, then turn off the oven immediately. Bake the croutons for 90 minutes, do not open oven.
Adjust the mix of ingredients to your own tastes.
Allow the croutons to cool, place in a shallow serving bowl and serve with salads and many types of grilled meats and seafood.
Experiment with other seasonings and bread types; try bagels, pita, and dinner rolls. For different seasonings try cumin, curry and anise.
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Chef Emile L. Stieffel, Aurora Catering, Inc. email address: ChefEmile@CustomCatering.net
Copyright © 1995 Aurora Catering, Inc. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 27, 2009.