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3 cups bread (pretty much any kind will work), cut into cubes
Salt, to taste
Place the bread cubes in a single layer in a large skillet over medium high heat. Toast, stirring regularly, until they begin to crisp up and brown lightly.
Begin adding olive oil a tablespoon or two at a time, stirring well to coat and allowing it to absorb into the bread. They are done when they are evenly crisp and brown and lightly shiny (you'll probably want to taste a few to check as you cook).
Remove the croutons from the heat and stir in your favorite spice while they are still hot. I used Riviera Herbs (about 1 1/2 teaspoons) in this preparation. Or try Vadouvan N28, Amber N2, Noga N17, or D'Vora for starters, but the sky really is the limit. Use the blend or single spice that's been sitting in your cabinet and give it a new crispy life!
Taste for salt and add if you want to. Allow the croutons to cool uncovered to release any residual moisture, then store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks (if you can keep yourself from eating them all by then).
Salad is a natural pair, but there are many other great uses:
Food image and recipe © Christian Leue.
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