3 cups large-dice crusty bread (from about 3 [1/2-inch] slices)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or thyme (optional)
Makes:4 to 6 servings
Croutons add a welcome, toasty crunch to any salad or soup that may be falling a little flat. This easy recipe can be made with any crusty bread, like pain au levain or sourdough. Try the croutons on top of gazpacho or a Caesar salad.
1Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
2Heat the butter or oil in a large oven-safe frying pan over medium-high heat until the butter is foaming or the oil is shimmering. Add the garlic, if using, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bread cubes, season with salt and pepper, and stir to coat in the butter or oil.
3Transfer the frying pan to the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Stir the croutons and bake until crispy and golden brown, about 5 minutes more.
4Remove the pan from the oven, add the herbs, if using, and stir to combine.