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Panzanella Croutons

(Makes 4 to 4-1/2 cups)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, Bagna Cauda Butter, or Roasted Garlic Thyme Butter
6 cups crust-free cubed day-old bread (1/2-inch cubes)
6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat and cook until it foams. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat with the butter. Transfer the bread to a baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with the cheese and toss again while warm to melt the cheese.

Bake, stirring once or twice, until the croutons are crisp and lightly colored on the outside but still soft within, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Michael’s Notes: I use a serrated knife to remove the crust from day-old bread, then switch to a chef?s knife to cut the cubes because it doesn?t tear the bread. Also note that I recommend grating the Parmesan finely so that it will stick to the bread better.

For more seasonal recipes to share around your table, buy my cookbook, Casual Cooking!

© 2002 NapaStyle

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