Homemade CROUTONS can easily turn a good salad into a great salad. Crunchy, garlicky croutons are the usual garnish for CAESAR SALAD…for most green salads for that matter…and I wouldn’t think of eating a bowl of my favorite CHICKEN BISQUE without a handful of freshly made croutons on top. I had just enough crab meat left over from my beach trip to make a big Caesar salad. This is a very simple salad and how good it is depends on the quality of the few ingredients required…crisp romaine lettuce, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, homemade dressing, croutons and..in this case…a generous helping of just out of the ocean, freshly cracked DUNGENESS CRAB MEAT.
I don’t have a crouton recipe I follow. I just eyeball the amount of olive oil I use depending on the amount of bread that I have cubed…about 1/4 to 1/3 cup for 6 cups of bread cubes…some bread soaks up more oil than others. Put the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toss with a mixture of olive oil, several minced garlic cloves, freshly ground black pepper, salt, and a pinch of cayenne pepper (Parmesan cheese and dried herbs are optional). Bake at 350 degrees, stirring often, until bread is nicely browned and crisp. I don’t use butter because the croutons don’t last as long as when only olive oil is used. The butter can turn rancid if the croutons are stored in the cupboard for more than a few days. Once you try homemade croutons you will never settle for store bought again. And they are a very tasty little snack with a nice glass of a crisp Oregon wine.
CAESAR SALAD DRESSING
is so easy to make at home and is so much better than anything you can buy at the store.
There are a zillion recipes in bloggie land. Here are a few you might enjoy.
Caesar Salad with Pancetta by Ina Garten
Best Caesar Dressing (No Anchovies) by Chowhound.com
Classic Caesar Salad Dressing by An Oregon Cottage
Classic Caesar Salad by Martha Stewart
Chicken Caesar Salad by Smitten Kitchen