Do you people ever have those moments where you do something that you’ve done before but somehow it seems more special or something? That’s how I feel about making fresh croutons. I think maybe it’s the idea of taking something on its way out (old bread) and making it into something fantastic. From there, it’s a no brainer to add it to a simple salad.
And I think fresh croutons make my husband fall a little more in love with me each time I make them. He always seems really impressed =)
Panzanella With Lemon Vinaigrette
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
About 10 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled*
3 slices slightly stale sourdough bread
1 tspn crushed rosemary
1 tbsp honey dijon mustard
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Croutons:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Dice your sourdough bread into bite sized pieces. Toss in a bowl with the rosemary, olive oil, black pepper and salt. Lay them out on a baking sheet, and toast them for 5-10 minutes. We like a little chew to them left, so if you are looking for a crunchier crouton, leave them in longer. Once done, take them out and allow them to cool off. Or if you are like us, eat a couple off the tray straight out of the oven and burn your mouth, but god damn it they are delicious and it’s kind of worth it LOL.
For the Dressing:
Slice the lemon in half and juice into a bowl. Add the mustard, and then whisk the mixture while you drizzle in the olive oil. Season with the black pepper.
Toss the greens, vegetables and croutons together in a large salad bowl and drizzle the dressing on top. Mix it up and serve!
*You can also substitute turkey bacon here, which we did in one of the taste tests of this. It’s a good work around if you are watching your calories/fat/sodium. Both versions tasted great.