Dean Fearing’s Cheese Croutons
You ay have noticed that I have been doing a lot of summer reading lately! A few good books, but mostly vintage cookbooks like my current favorites – Baking with Julia, German Baking and Cooking and the cookbook this recipe came from – Dean Fearing’s The Mansion on Turtle Creek.
This cookbook caught my eye for a few reasons:
- I lived just a few miles north of the Mansion on Turtle Creek when this cookbook was published. I was getting my Masters at SMU and often drove past imagining all of the fanciness that was going on inside.
- It is a signed copy – LOVE signed copies of cookbooks!
- It has some CRAZY delicious yet approachable sounding recipes.
- It’s Dean Fearing, HELLO.
As I read through Chef Fearing’s cookbook, a large number of recipes caught my eye. I tagged many pages and took a slew of notes. Surprising as it may be, out of all the recipes I read, this little recipe tacked on to the end of a salad recipe caught my eye and catapulted me into the kitchen so I could try it for myself
Although the salad sounded tasty, I immediately imagined these cheese croutons were the star of the show. I could just hear people raving about them – “you have to get the salad, his cheese croutons are to.die.for!” “I could make a meal out of them all by themselves” “I wonder how he makes them…??”
Whether those actual conversations took place or not – I don’t know (because I wasn’t there, sniff). But I PROMISE, if my 22 year old, poor college student self had been invited inside those Mansion doors and offered a salad, I would have made a meal out of these babies!
Let me tell all about this simple recipe – combine the following ingredients in a food processor:
- goat cheese
- white cheddar
- chili powder (I used Hatch green chili powder – my fave)
- a pinch of s & p
Pulse until the mixture is creamy and similar to the consistency of softened butter. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.
Smear 1-2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture atop toasted baguette rounds.
Place the rounds into the oven until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
Top the cheese croutons with a little fresh chopped chives (because it makes them look so pretty) – and serve with your favorite salad or as an appetizer all by their delicious little selves. The original recipe makes 8 but – let’s be real, if 8 is good, 24 is better. I made 24 – #worthit.
A little salty, a wave of heat – thanks to Hatch, and the most wonderfully delicious mixture of cheesy goodness baked until crisp and gooey. Yes – I would order a salad just to get my hands on a few of these yummies. And since they come with salad, they are healthy, right?
- 1 French baguette, cut into 1/2" slices
- 3 oz Brie
- 3 oz goat cheese
- 3 oz white cheddar (I used Dubliner)
- 3 T cream
- 2 T fresh chives
- 1-2 t chili powder (I used Hatch green chili powder - my fave)
- a pinch of s & p, to taste
- 2 T chopped fresh chives, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place baguette slices on the baking sheet, evenly spaced and toast approximately 5 minutes or until the bread is lightly browned and crisp.
- While the bread is toasting, combine the remaining ingredients (except the chopped chives that will be used for garnish) in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of softened butter.
- Remove the toasted baguette from the oven and smear a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture atop each round. Return the croutons to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese is bubbly and light golden around the edges (approximately 8 minutes).
- Once the croutons are done, sprinkle with chopped chives & allow to cool 1-2 minutes before serving atop your favorite salad or as an appetizer.
- Makes 20
- If you want to work ahead, you could prep the croutons, top with cheese in advance and then bake right before service.