For More Crunch In Your Salad, Add Stale Croissants

There's nothing more decadent than a fresh butter croissant. They're a delicacy in every sense of the word, with an intricate layering of butter and dough that yields a crunchy crust and soft, flakey interior. They're perfect for pairing all on their own with a cup of coffee, and if they start to harden, you can crisp them up at home for that fresh-out-of-the-oven quality. Even if croissants do start to stale, you can easily repurpose them for more elaborate dishes like French toast, paninis, or a savory breakfast casserole.

One of the best ways to utilize stale croissants is to turn them into salad croutons. While common crouton candidates are usually crusty bread types like sourdough and baguettes, croissants provide a novel texture and flavor that is much lighter, flakier, and richer. Because they're so delicate, croissant croutons break down and disperse crispy flakes throughout the salad so that all other ingredients receive a crunchy coating. Not to mention, the butter content in croissants adds a richness to both oil and dairy-based salad dressings. 

How to make croissant croutons

Whether you're using sourdough or croissants to make croutons, you'll always want to choose stale bread because it needs to be dried out to achieve that desired crunchy texture. When deferring to croissants, go for those that are at least a day old so that they're dry enough to absorb the oil you toss them in, which will make for especially crispy croutons.

The first step is to preheat your oven; some recipes recommend a lower temperature like 310 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 minutes, while others call for toasting croutons at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for five to eight minutes. As the oven preheats, you can tear the croissants into bite-sized pieces and toss them in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.

The butter content makes croissants flavorful enough for minimal seasoning, but you can also add more elaborate flavors like fresh herbs and Parmesan. After spreading the pieces over a baking sheet, place them in the oven, turning them over halfway through the baking time. You can also air-fry them for around seven minutes.

Croissant croutons will taste delicious in a wide range of salads, pairing wonderfully with a cheesy and savory Caesar dressing, a tangy creamy ranch dressing, or any variety of vinaigrette. You can even make them the star of the show in a tasty Italian Panzanella salad with heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil.