Recipe for the one thing every salad needs

Croutons! So easy to make; so easy to burn.

And the fastest way to elevate a salad from lunchtime blah to company's coming amazing.

So get the nicest salad-makings you can find. Then come on back and read the restaurant quality crouton recipe, below.

I got this one from my chef (if you are new here, then welcome, and be aware that I am also a culinary school student). It's fast, it's easy, and it makes no-fail croutons.

Vegetarian recipe for incredibly easy, restaurant quality croutons
As with most recipes, your first step is to preheat your oven. 450 F will do nicely.

Next, grab some leftover sliced bread (the older, the better) and dice it.

The easiest way to do this is to slice your loaf, first, then cut the slices (stack three or so at a time) into strips, then cut those strips into evenly sized cubes, say 1/2″ square. Use your serrated knife.

Toss your cubes with clarified butter (clarified so they won’t burn), if you have some, or flavored extra virgin olive oil. (You can add salt and pepper and any seasonings you like at this point, but I like to add finely minced garlic at the end. Hang on; you'll see.)

Spread your bread cubes on a rack (so the extra fat can drip away) on a pan (think cookie sheet). Pop them into a fairly hot oven and keep an eye on them because they can burn quickly.

If you want to toss them with minced garlic, this would be the time to cut up two or three cloves. Be sure to cut it finely.

Take out your croutons when they are as crisp as you want them. Put them in a bowl and toss them with your minced garlic and sea salt.

Taste a few to make sure they are okay. Okay, have a few more. Now, hang on, if you keep eating them you'll have to make a second batch.

Okay. Make a second batch and serve, quickly!