I would have to say that I prefer my soups to be served with a nice chunk of bread. However, I do like a change occasionally and croutons make for that. It took me a while to get the results I wanted but these Croutons and Crumbs were my solution. See below for some suggestions on varying the flavour of the end result.
- 4-6 slices Bread
- 2-3 tablespoons Butter or Olive Oil
- Cut the crusts from the bread.
- Turn the crusts into breadcrumbs in your preferred way. I have a mini blender that works very well for this but a stick blender or food processor also do a good job. The breadcrumbs can be as coarse or fine as you would like.
- Set the breadcrumbs aside while chopping the bread. Size is a matter of preference though I would suggest something around 0.5cm/¼ inch.
- Cooking the crumbs depends on what else you are cooking at the same time. If the oven is on then they can be cooked in there. If it is is not then simply put them under a low grill. In both cases, evenly spread the crumbs over an ovenproof baking tray then cook for 3-5 minutes or until crispy to your taste.
- Either melt the butter or heat the olive oil in a large pan. I prefer to use a Wok as they seem to keep things inside much better.
- Add the cubed bread into the hot oil and fry until crisped. Stir lots to prevent burning.
- Serve both the Croutons and crumbs in separate bowls to accompany your favourite soup
The exact flavour achieved will depend a lot on the bread that is used. Here are a few suggestions for adding other flavours according to your taste.
- Mix herbs or spices of your choice into the breadcrumbs before heating.
- Add crushed garlic or crushed chilli into the oil before frying the croutons.
- Use a different oil to fry the croutons. Supermarkets seem to stock many varieties now so different flavours can be achieved.
Experiment to find what works best for you.