Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Crunchy Salad-tons

Since going gluten-free, I've been having a lot of salads.

Naked salads to be exact.

Let me define what a naked salad is. It is lettuce. On a plate. There is usually some other stuff on it, but it is always missing the one thing that takes a mediocre salad and catapults it to greatness.

The croutons. 

The word crouton is derived from the French croûton, itself derived from croûte, meaning "crust". Being gluten-free doesn't leave a lot of room for anything with a crust.Which leads me to obsess about anything pertaining to crusts. Like pie. And pizza. And volcanoes. Recently, my need for crust became so bad that I actually caved and purchased a loaf of gluten-free bread. I salivated at the thought of having a toasted cheese sandwich again. 

Then I actually tasted a toasted cheese sandwich with gluten-free bread. 

Now before anybody starts telling me that I must have purchased a bad loaf, or that there are other brands out there that are actually edible, let me just say, I don't care. No offense, but a loaf of "bread," any bread,  should never, ever, ever have an expiration date that is one year away from the date of purchase. Especially if the "bread" was sitting on a regular grocery shelf and not in a freezer case. That is not bread and it is not a whole food. It's a science-experiment-pseudo-food. Because it had absolutely no flavor at all, it was very hard for me to eat it "as is". Considering the almost $5 price tag, it was also very difficult for me to just throw it to the chickens.

So I fixed it.

Now I'm back to enjoying salad greatness instead of salad mediocrity's good to be back.☺

~Homemade Gluten-Free Croutons~

 ~The Players~

12-14 slices g.f. bread (I used EnerG/Seattle Brown Bread.)
1/2 c. plus 2 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. sea salt
fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried thyme
2 Tb. Parmesan cheese (from the can)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Put cubes into a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil while mixing with a wooden spoon, making sure to lightly coat all the cubes. Add the spices and Parmesan cheese. Stir until all the pieces look seasoned.

 Spread croutons onto cookie sheet or broiler pan. Bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring often. When the croutons are crispy, remove from oven and allow to cool.

Store in an air-tight container.

The finished color of the croutons will depend upon the type of bread used. Mine ended up fairly dark, but they were so very tasty!

*This recipe will also work for regular bread too.



Candy C. said...

I'm glad you were able to salvage that pricey loaf of "bread!" I guess you will have to perfect baking your own gluten free breads, there are supposed to be some good cookbooks out there.

Susan said...

This is so true. The only GF "bread" I can stomach is Udi's, which is frozen. And is tiny. And is expensive. It still is not bread. That's a great idea, though, as a naked salad is just not as good as a croutoned salad.

DoleValleyGirl said...

So glad you found a way to enjoy croutons! Do you think I can find a way to make a batch that's carb free? That's where I'm living right now...

PS: Free crochet lessons anytime you're in Yacolt. :)

SweetLand Farm said...

Looks really good. I love croutons on my salad as well, so I'll have to try some homemade ones.