Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

on November 2, 2015

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To me, there is nothing better than homemade croutons. Whenever I make croutons, they’re usually made from cutting up that special Artisan bread you bought from your local bakery. Ciabatta breads are my favorite. Specifically the Tuscan garlic loaf. Whole roasted garlic cloves are baked right in the bread. Let me say this, if you love good bread, and you’ve made your own croutons, you’ll never buy them ever again. Above are some of my recipes where I’ve used homemade croutons. There’s my chicken and French onion soups, add to the filling of a squash, a delicious Panzanella salad, and finally, my sausage and asparagus strata. Soon I’ll be making a sweet bread pudding using another type of Ciabatta. They are just so many recipes that come from great homemade croutons. Let me show you my basic crouton recipe using the Tuscan garlic Ciabatta loaf.

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So, there are two methods to making great homemade croutons. The first one is, baking them off on a sheet pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, Kosher salt, and black pepper. You could also get crazy and add some, garlic powder, and maybe even add dried herbs.Then I’d toss them with the olive oil,Kosher salt, and pepper to make sure they’re all coasted nicely. Bake them off at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.  The second way, I love to do them, is to use a very large non-stick saute pan, for recipes, that don’t require more than 4-6 cups of bread cubes. I also gild the lily with some butter. Using butter with olive oil just adds extra flavor to those delightful little cubes of bread.

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First, I dice up the Ciabatta with crusts on, in about 1 to 1-1/2 inch cubes. then I add butter and olive oil and unsalted butter to a large non-stick saute pan on med heat. Once that’s melted, I add the bread cubes with Kosher salt and black pepper. Make sure that they all lay flat and in one layer. This will ensure they”ll toast evenly getting nice and golden brown. Using a wooden spatula, I toss all the bread cubes until they’ve absorbed the butter and olive oil. Every couple of minutes toss the croutons around in the pan so all the sides become a golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and add minced fresh herbs and grated Parmesan cheese (optional). This process takes about 15 minutes.

Yields: 4-6 cups (1 loaf of Tuscan garlic Ciabatta)
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

4-6 cups of cubed bread (1 loaf of Tuscan Ciabatta garlic loaf, or regular Ciabatta)
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Have bread cubed, Melt the butter and olive oil in a large saute pan on med heat. Add the bread cubes in, ( making sure they’re in on layer in the pan) and season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Toss all the bread cubes so they’ve absorbed the butter and oil. Let saute a couple of minutes without turning. Once a golden brown color on the first side, then toss them again to brown the other sides. This takes about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add any other ingredients you may want. Fresh herbs and grated cheese are delicious.


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