Bruschetta bread squares. Croutons. Savory goodness. These go by many names in our house. Trust me, these are not your typical crouton (those crunchy stale-esque cubes of mystery bread we all dread in our salads). These are hearty, crispy on the outside, soft and squishy on the inside, flavorful morsels. And they are super simple to make!
The idea came to me when we were having lunch at a restaurant, they served my salad with something like this, and called it a "crostini crouton" I figured I could easily mimic it! I start off with a loaf of thin baguette bread. It's loaded up with a few ingredients; like olive oil and fresh parmesan, to name a few. Then it's baked low so all the delicious flavors can meld together, then a quick high bake at the end for the golden brown edges and a bit of crunch.
These are super versatile in that you can use them for topping a salad, or you can skip the "squares" part and use it as a base for bruschetta. I also like to use them with soup. Wait until you've tried them with my Tomato Basil Soup or (as pictured) my favorite caprese salad (recipe to come). It's SO GOOD. My kids love these things and I'm pretty sure my son sneaks them out of the kitchen when my back is turned, some how I'll go from like 40 squares to 30 within minutes :)
This was on my dinner menu last night, a big old pot of Tomato Basil Soup and these bruschetta squares. I just got my small vegetable garden up and running and I used the fresh basil in my garden to top the soup. These paired with it were heavenly, a pure food bliss moment. They soaked up all that delicious creamy tomato basil soup.
1 Skinny Baguette (If your store sells La Brea do yourself a a favor and buy it ever time)
4 tbsp butter, softened but not melted
1/4 c. parmigiano reggiano
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp parsley
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 325. Cut baguette in half, so you have a "top" and "bottom" half. Drizzle very generously with olive oil, coating almost the entire surface. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and some pepper. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. It's important that the butter isn't melted when you use it, don't put it in the microwave and then forget about it (guilty x always) the butter needs to be soft but not melted for this recipe. Spread an even layer over both sides. Sprinkle with another pinch of salt.
Put the baguette on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. Turn up your heat to "broil" and then broil for 1 minute, please don't forget about them, it's pretty sad when you find burnt bread in your oven. Once its done, pull it out let it cool until you candle handle it without burning yourself (or use an oven mitt). Slice the bread halves, in half again, lengthwise and then width wise so you get perfect cubes.
Serve, enjoy and try not to fight over the last one :)