One of the great challenges of being an empty nester is ending up with leftovers that go bad before I can use them, and a loaf of bread is a perfect example. The Italians never throw away any leftover bread - they use it in soups (like my tomato pancetta soup) and salads to extend the portions and enrich the dish. One delicious thing to do with it is to make homemade garlic croutons. I'm going to make some later this week and will post the photo of the finished product then, but thought I'd share the recipe today.
Yields about 6 cups
1 loaf Italian bread, something firm and crusty like bread from Puglia, and preferably day old
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut Bread into 3/4 inch slices, then into cubes. Place in a large bowl and set aside. Heat olive oil in a small sauce pan with the garlic just until fragrant taking care not to let garlic burn. Remove from heat and discard garlic. Toss bread cubes with the garlic oil, then spread onto one or two baking sheets in a single layer. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and bake until golden brown. Let cool completely and then store in an airtight container for up to one week.