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Croutons and Creole

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MM will really eat anything I put in front of him, but his absolute favorite thing that I make is croutons. It’s got to the point where when I ask, “what should I make for dinner?” his response 90% of the time is “croutons!” I usually end up making a Caesar salad but I was looking for a lighter option for this meal. I found this recipe on Epicurious a couple of weeks ago and tried it last night for the first time. I couldn’t find wild arugula so I used organic arugula. I also didn’t make the croutons the way this recipe calls to do, because I have my own family recipe that I swear by.

You can use French bread, sourdough or Ciabatta – anything with soft dough and a crisp crust.

  • Cut the bread into strips and cube the bread. It’s best so that each piece of bread has at least one side with crust on it.
  • Peel 3-4 cloves of garlic and set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet with 2 TB of olive oil.
  • Once the oil is smoking, add the whole cloves of peeled garlic.
  • Turn the garlic once so each sides brown, then add the bread and saute so that all the bread is mixed in with the olive oil.
  • Lower the heat to medium and saute frequently but not constantly so the bread doesn’t burn but it still gets a chance to brown.
  • After a few minutes of stirring, add garlic salt to taste (about 5 shakes).
  • I usually give them about 10 minutes to cook, but it depends on how crunchy you like your croutons.
  • Once they are cooked to your liking, take out the garlic cloves and discard (or feed them to your starving boyfriend).
  • Remove from heat and set aside to cool before putting in your salad.

These croutons are delicious and add crunch and flavor to any salad. Or if you’re like MM, you will just eat them plain while you’re waiting for dinner to be ready.

I tossed the arugula in a little bit of olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, S&P, then added the croutons and shaved Parmesan and tossed again. It was light and refreshing and delicious! MM loved it so much that he was scraping what was left out of the serving bowl. I still have half of the Ciabatta in the freezer and some arugula and cheese left, so I think I will make this salad again this week for some other dinner guests.

My mom recently sent me a recipe for Creole that I thought would go perfectly with this salad because the spice and seafood in the Creole would be balanced out by the acidity in the salad. I followed her suggestion and used less seafood since it was just for the two of us (2/3 a pound of large white shrimp and 2/3 a pound of sea scallops). I used fresh seafood and asked them to clean the shrimp for me so that would cut some time out of my prep (plus, shrimp are really annoying to clean). After washing and drying the shrimp and the scallops I cut the scallops in half and the shrimp into thirds (with the tails off). I put them in a bowl and tossed with salt and pepper and set them aside, as the recipe suggests.

this is the larger pot

Meanwhile, MM chopped all the vegetables – without a slap chop – and set them aside in a bowl for me. I heated 3 TB of vegetable oil in a medium pot and added the vegetables. I immediately thought the pot was too small and switched it to a larger one. I think I would have been okay with the medium pot once the vegetables cooked down, but better safe then sorry. Once the vegetables were browned I added the herbs and spice and flour, as the recipe suggests. I then added 1 cup of diced tomatoes (leftover from my Okra recipe last week) and added 1/2 cup of tomato sauce as well. From this point I followed the recipe exactly. I was a little confused about the directions to wait for 3-4 tiny bubbles to appear at the surface, but once I saw it happen I was sure that’s what the recipe meant.

The Creole was spicy and flavorful, and the seafood was cooked perfectly. I also made some brown rice to serve with it, as my mom suggested. I paired this meal with Cakebread 2010 Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit and citrus in the wine was harmonious with the salad, and the crispness of the Sauvignon Blanc cut through the spice in the Creole. It was the perfect wine to pair with this meal, and I still have a little left to finish off tonight with my leftovers.

About Kelsey

Kelsey is a food and wine lover residing in Napa, California, where she does marketing for a boutique wine collective. She previously lived in San Francisco for over six years, where her blogging journey began. She loves to cook seasonal meals and experiment with new wine pairings. She has been drinking and learning about wine with her father since she was 14, and cooking in the kitchen with her mother since she was 6. Both of her parents taught her well about seasoning and flavors, and she continues to learn more with every meal that is made.

One response »

  1. Looks delicious Kelsey! I am making it again tonight. I will have to try your salad – always looking for somewhere new to put those croutons!


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