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Crunchy Herb Croutons with Heirloom Tomatoes

Bet you can’t eat just one. The crunchy herby croutons, that is. Or is it the tomatoes, so ripe, so sweet, so full of late summer freshness? Colorful wedges paired with salty golden crisp in one happy mouthful—this arrangement of crunchy herb croutons + heirloom tomatoes are, for me a least, irresistible.

Crunchy Herb Croutons + Heirloom Tomatoes

After you eat just one crispy herby cube of a crouton, you’ll want another, and another. Like the bet in that old potato chip commercial, one is not enough. Leave these crunchy munchies out for snacks and they disappear as soon as you can say peasant bread.I’m going to wager you’ll like these croutons more than potato chips.

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Crunchy Herb Croutons + Heirloom Tomatoes

This is real food with a short ingredient list—food your great grandmother would recognize. Begin with a loaf of excellent bread. Cut into small squares, toast in olive oil and butter until golden, adding plenty of chopped fresh herbs, plus salt and pepper. Keep the croutons vegan by using all olive oil, no butter.

Crunchy Herb Croutons + Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes are the other part of this hard to resist combination. You want tomatoes that have never seen the inside of a refrigerator; warm from the garden if you have them. Choose a couple varieties for color and flavor contrast, like yellow taxi, Brandywine, and green zebras. Try small cherry and grape heirlooms too, their bursting sweetness balances the salty croutons.

There’s one more thing. The heirloom tomatoes and crunchy croutons appreciate a simple vinaigrette that ties all the flavors together, a quick and easy recipe of vinegar, mustard and olive oil.

Crunchy Herb Croutons + Heirloom Tomatoes

Homemade, subtly aromatic with fresh herbs, one single herb or a mixture–these are croutons with taste. I first made them with summer savory because a bunch came in our CSA farm share box, but I’ve toasted the croutons ‘til golden with parsley, rosemary, or fresh sage. With any fresh herb–bet you can’t eat just one.

Crunchy Herb Croutons + Heirloom Tomatoes

Idea: Salty herby croutons also pair well with young and tender bitter/sweet greens, like curly mizuna, and escarole’s cousin, frisée, also known as curly endive. Dress the greens with the vinaigrette and let them sit for 15 minutes before tossing with these croutons.

Recipe inspired by the Sage Croutons in The Cook and the Gardener, by Amanda Hesser.

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