Oh, the possibilities that come with a loaf of baguette bread, French bread or thick sliced sourdough. The pleasant balance between a little toughness, a soft middle, and a slightly crispy crust give a special taste to breakfast toast and breadsticks—perfect for spreads or dipping or eating all by itself. A few of those same possibilities also come with bread ends and bits lingering in the bottom of the bread sack.
These breads are the perfect foundation for homemade croutons and garlic crostini with a variety of herbs. If you’re lucky, you might even find breads already infused with garlic or herbs at a bakery near you.
Let’s turn those special breads and bread crumbs into something delicious, shall we? These two recipes use mostly the same ingredients, but with different instructions for each end result.
I find using my oven broiler for toasting large quantities of bread is the most efficient method. Toasting the bread a little before adding other ingredients prevents sogginess and encourages a crispy texture in all the right places.
The broiler method comes with the danger of over toasting, or burning. Do keep a close eye on bread during the process.
Toasted Croutons with Herbs and Balsamic
? several thick slices French bread, days-old dense bread, sourdough, or herb bread like tomato basil, cut to crouton-sized squares.
? 4 tablespoons butter, melted
? 1 heaping tablespoon dried or fresh parsley, chopped
? 1 ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning
? 1 teaspoon salt
? ½ teaspoon pepper
? 2 tablespoons De Nigris Gold Eagle Balsamic Vinegar
- Spread out bread pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Under an oven broiler set on 500 degrees, toast the bread on the middle oven rack for about two minutes.
- Remove sheet from oven and let bread pieces cool for at least one minute.
- Whisk melted butter, parsley, Italian seasonings, salt, pepper, and balsamic in a small glass pitcher.
- Transfer the bread to a medium-sized bowl.
- Pour the butter and herb mixture over the bread while gently tossing with a spatula or mixing with your hand. Each bread piece should be drizzled with some of the mixture, but not saturated.
- Put bread back on baking sheet, spreading out the pieces.
- Toast the bread again under the 500-degree broiler for about four minutes. Stirring the pieces once about halfway through. Remove bread when it’s toasted to a golden brown, or a bit darker if you like your croutons extra crispy.
- Remove sheet from oven and let croutons cool.
Crostini works as a wonderful party appetizer or an addition to a warm meal of pasta or soup. Keep a bottle of De Nigris balsamic at the table so it can be used just before serving, and so guests can keep drizzling it on their bread, as they’re likely to do after their first taste.
CROSTINI WITH HERB GARLIC BUTTER BLEND AND BALSAMIC
? baguette loaf or loaf of French bread. This recipe can also be made with sourdough or otherwise tough loaf of bread, with slices cut into fourths.
? 4 tablespoons butter, softened
? 1 heaping tablespoon parsley
? 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
? 1 teaspoon salt
? ½ teaspoon pepper
? 1 clove garlic, minced
? 2 tablespoons De Nigris Platinum Eagle Balsamic Vinegar
- Slice baguette bread into ½-inch or ¼-inch pieces.
- Lay slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Broil in oven at 500 degrees for about a minute.
- Remove slices from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- With a rubber spatula, mix softened butter, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and minced garlic.
- Spread butter and garlic blend on each bread slice.
- Place under 500-degree broiler again for about three minutes. Remove when toasts are a golden brown. Allow several minutes to cool.
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar over crostini immediately before serving.