Pan-Fried Croutons

A reader recently told me that she missed "good bread" and asked if I had a gluten-free bread recipe to share. I wish I could have said "yes," but that's just not a culinary realm I've ventured to yet. Gluten-free bread baking seems daunting. One day I hope to take on the challenge—just not today.

I could, however, sympathize with her craving for "good bread." Thankfully mine have waned since going gluten-, dairy- and egg-free almost a year ago. But that's not to say that I don't have my days. Last week a bread crave hit and I thought I'd try Ener G brand's White Rice Loaf bread (free of gluten, casein, dairy, egg, soy and nut). I've passed it up many times before because it just looked so, well, bland. My assumptions were right. It is quite bland but it makes pretty good toast when slathered in buttery spread. And, it makes SUPERB croutons!

Pan-Fried Croutons

Melt in a large frying pan over medium heat:

2 tablespoons extra virgin OLIVE OIL
2 tablespoons BUTTERY SPREAD or 2 additional tablespoons OLIVE OIL (see notes)

Add and gently stir:

5 slices of ENER G WHITE RICE LOAF BREAD or "safe" bread of your choice, cut into 1/2" cubes

Season to your liking with:

SEA SALT
ONION POWDER
Minced fresh or dried HERBS (optional ... I used oregano and parsley)

Continue to sauté over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown and crisp on all sides.

Notes: We use Earth Balance (soy-free version) buttery spread sparingly. It's still processed yellow stuff in a tub. But sometimes I just gotta have that buttery taste! If we did not have a dairy allergy in our home, we would use real, organic butter. Oh, and feel free to adjust the amount of oil/butter/buttery spread to your liking.

Ingredients in Ener G White Rice Flour Bread: Filtered Water, Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Pear Juice Concentrate, Yeast, Methylcellulose, Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose, Salt, Orange Citrus Fiber, Calcium Phosphate, Glucono Delta Lactone. Enriched with Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Iron and Folic Acid.

Find Ener G breads at your local natural foods store.