Truffle & Herb Croutons
January is my month for temporary reinvention. It is a time when I throw about 20 resolutions against the wall, and wonder which ones will make it to December. White breads, pasta, rice and sugar often work their way onto my list (i.e. "No more white bread, pasta, rice or sugar. Pizza is okay, but only on the weekends and special occasions. Like Thursdays.) This year, however, I'm going to be more of a realist. Cafe Madeleine is just two blocks from my house, and one of my great new pleasures is walking over to buy a freshly made baguette for stuffings, sandwiches and soups. It makes me feel Parisian. ("Be more Parisian." There's a good one for next year.) I highly doubt that I will be able to strike these baguettes from my diet, so screw it I'm gonna keep eating them. This is a simple, but delicious recipe for croutons. The only seasoning I use is truffle oil and rosemary. Truffle oil is expensive, but great to keep around. You won't use it everyday, and a little goes a long way. As far as rosemary goes, I've seen too many packages of it turn brown from neglect. Here, I was able to use all my leftover rosemary (about 3/4 of your standard pack. "Don't let the rosemary go brown." That's a good one too. I'll add it to the list right now.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the baguette into bite-sized pieces, and give the rosemary a rough chop. Combine the herbs and bread in a large mixing bowl. Add a few glugs of olive oil and a drizzle of truffle oil, and mix well.
Spread the bread over a baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes. When they're crispy and brown, they're croutons.
These croutons are great in salads, soups and stuffings.
May your new year be full of happiness, health and as much conscious, moderate consumption of baguettes as you deem appropriate. Or just do what you like.