Gar­lic Rye Crou­tons

MAKES 2 CUPS; Photo p. 68

SAVEUR - - Contents -

Ac­tive: 15 min. • To­tal: 30 min.

Slathered in oil, baked un­til crisp, then tossed with a po­tent quan­tity of raw gar­lic, th­ese rye crou­tons ride side­car to ev­ery soup in Latvia. If you can’t get a loaf of rupj­maize, the sweet-sour Lat­vian bread, use the dark­est loaf of rye bread you can find.

8 oz. 100 per­cent rye sour­dough bread (such as Lat­vian rupj­maize), cut into 2-inch chunks ½ cup veg­etable oil Kosher salt Freshly ground black pep­per 2 Tbsp. ba­con fat 3 large gar­lic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp.) 1 Tbsp. thinly sliced chives

1 Pre­heat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, toss the bread with the veg­etable oil un­til evenly sat­u­rated and sea­son lightly with salt and pep­per. Transfer to a large, rimmed bak­ing sheet (no need to clean out the bowl), ar­rang­ing the cubes in a sin­gle layer. Bake, stir­ring once or twice, un­til the crou­tons are crisp through­out and dark­ened at the edges, 15–20 min­utes.

2 Mean­while, in a small pot, com­bine the ba­con fat and gar­lic. Heat gen­tly to melt the fat but not cook the gar­lic, then transfer the mix­ture to the large bowl and set aside.

3 When the crou­tons are baked, transfer them to the large bowl and stir well to coat with the gar­lic and fat. Sprin­kle with chives and serve warm or at room tem­per­a­ture with soup or salad.

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