How to fry croutons

I must really be a glutton for punishment.  Of all the weeks to pick to try out recipes from Jennie Perillo's cookbook, Homemade With Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen, it had to be this week.        Aside from my usual schedule I had PTA parties, blog events, lunch with a visiting uncle, The Pea's band concert and my birthday -- plus I've been in Disneyland for the last 2 days, so I had to cram 5 weekdays worth of work into 3.  Yet I found myself not only cooking from scratch but blogging about it for 3 consecutive days!

Today's post is an ode to Jennie's Parmesan Skillet Croutons, one of the ingredients in her Slow-Roasted Tomato and Fresh Mozarella Panzanella, and I guess I could have just used store-bought croutons, but that kind of misses the point about cooking from scratch.  I resolved to follow her instructions to the letter, no matter how crazy it seemed (Making my own croutons?  Outrageous!), I fried the croutons myself.  You can click on this link to get to Jennie's recipe on her blog, but the gist of it is:

* Cube a day-old baguette
* For every cups of cubes, parmesan cheese, olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper.
* Toss to coat
* Toast on a stove in a frying pan over medium heat.

Boy, am I glad I tried making this.  My kids (okay, I) couldn't stop eating these croutons!  I ended up making a triple batch: one to go in the panzanella, one to go in a Caesar's salad dish that I brought to my PTA party, and one for snacking.

In my opinion, these babies taste best fresh and warm out of the pan (FRIED BREAD, people) because they are crispy on the outside but still quite soft inside.  Once they cool, they dry up and acquire the crispy crouton crunch.

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