These do need a warning attached to them: croutons from a box will never measure up again after you've made these. You can use them in salads, soups, or just serve them on their own with cocktails and pop them into your mouth.
Use good Parmesan for this, since there are so few ingredients that the quality of the bread, the cheese, and the olive oil are what are being showcased. Take the croutons out of the oven before they are totally dry, as they will harden up further as they cool, and it's nice for them to be a bit chewy in the middle.
You can also sauté these in a skillet -- just spray it with nonstick spray first. They get a lovely caramelized exterior that way, but it takes a more vigilant eye -- they will take about 8 minutes, and you'll need to stir occasionally.
These will keep in a sealed container for up to 2 days.
- 4 cups cubed good white bread
- 3 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
- ½ teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl toss the bread cubes with the olive oil, Parmesan, garlic, and salt and pepper.
2. Spread the croutons on the baking sheet, leaving some space between them. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the outside in lightly browned and crisp. The middle should still be a bit soft. Remove them from the pan and cool.