Well, already I feel like the title is misleading. Yes, it’s a dressing recipe, and it’s really good. I mean really good. I hijacked this from Chef a few summers ago and I have been making it ever since. BUT, what makes this out of the world is the homemade croutons. Yes, all good recipes come down to the bread. 😉
This recipe is great to use up leftover, possibly stale bread. In our house, no such thing exists. Thankfully for us Chef’s day job allows us almost unending access to French baguettes. If you are in a similar situation where leftover bread is an oxymoron in your kitchen, just grab an extra loaf and stash it away. Or run to your stove top directly, and whip this up. (SN – you can use any bread, fresh, frozen, or stale. If you use sandwich bread, stale or frozen is best. Using focaccia? It’s next level, you don’t need to add the oil, salt or pepper, just dice and fry.)
Start by slicing and dicing. You want the pieces to be universal in size so when you fry them they cook evenly.
In a mixing bowl, add the bread, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix to coat the bread.
On medium low to medium heat, pan fry the bread until just browning on both sides. We have an electric stove top which has only taken me about eight years to master, so I tend to cook things over lower heat for fear they will burn. It doesn’t take much for bread to burn. I prefer to use a cast iron skillet, but any will do, and because the bread is already oiled, the pan can be dry.
If you are lucky, these will keep for more than a week in an airtight container, but my kids like these for snacks, so one baguette lasts about a meal in our house. (I literally just saw L2 walking around the house with the container in hand. Uh, we are having those for dinner, Bud.)
While the bread is toasting, you can whip up this super easy dressing.
In your/a/the (insert any indefinite article here, you would think at this point in my writing career I could establish the correct one) food processor, add three or four cloves of peeled garlic and a peeled and quartered shallot. This recipe is great for keeping vampires away.
Pulse until chopped.
Add in salt, pepper, mayo and balsamic vinegar.
Stream in some olive oil.
While it’s convenient to chop the shallots and garlic, and get the mixing processing going, once the ingredients are combined in the processor, I move them to a bowl and whisk just to be sure.
Toss into your favorite greens and add in the croutons. You want to get really fancy, add in some parmesan cheese too. This great on just about any greens. I really like a mix of kale and arugula. The peppery flavor of the arugula with the garlic and shallots is on point. I say this and below are some fresh garden greens that are coming to the end of the line.
Makes 1/2 cup of dressing
3-4 gloves of peeled garlic
1-2 shallots, halved
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/3 c mayo
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 T olive oil
In a food processor, add the garlic and shallots and pulse until finely chopped. Add the salt, pepper, vinegar and mayo, and blend until combined. While the processor is on, stream in the olive oil. Once combined, put in a bowl and give a final whisk.
Toss into your favorite greens.
Pan Friend Croutons
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
2-3 T olive oil
Cut the bread into small cubes, keeping the size uniform. In a large bowl, coat the bread with olive oil, salt and pepper.
In a medium size sauté pan, on medium low to medium heat, fry the bread in small batches. Don’t over crowd the pan or the bread won’t cook thru. On baguette takes about three to four pans full. Fry for a few minutes, gently tossing every minute to not burn the bread.
Let them cool, and serve with your favorite salad, or walk around and eat this for snack just before dinner.