Mikkel at Shädy Äcres has asked that we talk about something else – quite explicitly, he’s asked that we speak of croutons.
Fair enough. I'll speak of mine sautéed in bubbling bacon, because they’re really the best way to eat croutons that I know of, and if you only do it every once in a while you’ll only be slightly closer to that eminent myocardial infarction.
Salade á l’ail
2 tablespoons Dijon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ cup peanut oil (olive oil will work fine too)
6 cups tasty mixed salad greens – all your favorites – if you’re in the U.S. throw in some spinach from Salinas because that market needs a kick in the pants and the World’s Best Engineer (he of the spinach harvester) will thank you for your trouble
4 oz. slab bacon, rind removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large slabs of crusty bread cut into cubes
2 fat garlic cloves, minced
Create the dressing by mixing together the mustard, vinegar, oil and salt. It should be viscous: almost like mayo.
Place the bacon in a large skillet and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the bacon begins to sweat off its saturated goodness. Add the bread cubes and continue to cook, stirring from time to time until both the bacon and bread cubes are browned to a crisp, about five minutes or more.
Toss the greens (which you have lovingly washed and placed in a large salad bowl) with the dressing and then top with the bacon, croutons and garlic. Serve with a few more slices of that good bread and a nice red wine (but not too much – for god’s sake we don’t want to start crying into our cup again).
Make sure that everyone in the household has a little bit of this, because that minced garlic will linger for a little while. Best to make sure everyone smells of the same stinking rose.
Freely adopted from Patricia Wells’ Bistro Cooking