I'm sure you've gathered that it's Soup Week here at the Kitchn and I thought this was the perfect time to share my simple recipe for little-bit-spicy croutons. Whenever I'm making homemade soup I usually whip these up as well. They have a nice way of adding a little crunch and a little kick to any soup, from simple broths to rich tomato.
For these croutons I use Susie Middleton's recipe from Fine Cooking and turn up the spice. I deliberately bake them a little longer than you might a crouton you're using for salad just so they don't get too soggy in your bowl. If you have a favorite spice or herb, throw in a little. This is one forgiving crouton.
4 large slices white sandwich bread, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups) (I find that the most ho-hum white sandwich bread makes the very finest crouton. )
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, for sprinkling
paprika, for sprinkling
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
Spread all of your bread pieces out onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Melt the butter in a 1 quart sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and mix a few times with a wooden spoon so the cloves are completely covered in butter. Raise the heat to medium, and add oregano, red pepper, and thyme.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the garlic pieces using a slotted spoon. Drizzle the butter over the bread cubes. Toss with your hands until the cubes are coated well. Sprinkle with paprika and kosher salt. Spread them in a single layer and sprinkle with 3/4 tsp. salt. Bake until the croutons are a deep golden-brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool completely.
You can store the croutons in an air-tight container for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 weeks.
Related: 7 Healthy Soup Garnishes
(Images: Megan Gordon)