Like most readers, I often take the easy way out and pick up some attractively packaged factory-processed food item at the Supermarket that I could just as easily have prepared at home. I know I should spend some more time reading the label, but I am often in a hurry and really don’t have the time to dawdle.
Nevertheless, I have found that with a bit of organization and forward-planning, I can re-purpose many items that would often end up in by garbage bin and MOST IMPORTANTLY eat far more HEALTHY foods from natural food products. In fact, re-purposing ingredients is at the heart of the Mediterranean diet and a great way to economize and avoid using factory-processed foods.
A case in point is croutons. You know, the bite-size bits of bread that we often add to a nourishing soup to give it a bit of crunch. Sure, you can pick up a wide variety of “flavored” croutons at the market, but I prefer to make my own. It is a great way to use small pieces of bread that often go stale and get discarded.
The following inspiration comes from Alison Roman, Senior Food Editor at Bon Appétit.
Homemade Croutons with Olive Oil
- Leftover day-old bread - preferably either baguette or ciabatta
- extra virgin olive oil
- Tear day-old bread into coarse 1-inch shards;
- Scatter the bread (we used ciabatta in this recipe) on a rimmed baking sheet;
- Drizzle olive oil over bread
- Mix with your hands and squeeze the bread so it soaks up the olive oil;
- Pop into a 350-degree oven and toast for about 12 minutes
The nice thing about making your own croutons is that you can freeze them and then thaw as needed (toast them briefly before adding to the soup).
For your information, I am using these croutons on a homemade spinach and broccoli soup – don’t you love the colors?