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Garlic Croutons

(recipe, Barbara Tropp)

Introduction

A dense baguette coupled with a good oil makes for a great crouton. Croutons are most flavorful on the day they are toasted; after 2 or 3 days, they taste stale.

Ingredients

  1. 1 day-old baguette (about 2 feet long, weighing ½ pound)
  2. Scant ¼ cup corn or peanut oil
  3. 1 large clove garlic, smashed

Steps

  1. With a serrated knife, cut the baguette crosswise into ¼-inch-thick rounds. If you're working a day in advance, leave them in a covered bowl at room temperature; in spite of the cover, they'll firm up. Or, if you're wanting to bake them in several hours, spread them on a rack to dry a little.
  2. Combine the oil and garlic. Let stand 30 to 45 minutes to infuse the oil, then discard the garlic.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Move a rack to the middle position.
  4. Arrange bread rounds side by side on a baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with the infused oil. Bake until light gold, 8 to 10 minutes, turning the baking sheet midway for even coloring.
  5. Let the croutons cool on the baking sheet. For the best flavor, use shortly after toasting. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature and use within 1 to 2 days.