AUGUST 12, 2013

MEET THE SOUS CHEF

Tim Dornon, Chef de Cuisine, Qui

Can a chef make croutons special? If the chef is Tim Dornon, chef de cuisine at Austin newcomer Qui, and the croutons are golden, buttery, and fragrant with poached lemon zest and thyme, the answer is yes.

The chef, who shared his recipe for a kimchi-and-fried-egg sandwich with Tasting Table last year, uses the croutons as a topping for a chilled garlic soup; they'd also be a sublime addition to salad, of course, or you could try these myriad ways to put this essential recipe to use.


Julie Soefer
MAKE THE
Lemon-Thyme Croutons
Lemon-Thyme Croutons

YIELD

3½ cups

TIME

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Total: 50 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Lemon, 1

Small sourdough loaf, ½

Unsalted butter, 10 tablespoons

Fine sea salt, ½ teaspoon

Freshly ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon

Fresh thyme, 6 sprigs

DIRECTIONS

1. On a cutting board, place the:

  • Lemon

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the rind from half of the lemon. Turn the rind strips over and use a paring knife to slice off the white pith from the peel. Add the lemon strips to a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the peel to a small bowl. Discard the water in the saucepan, return the peel to the saucepan, cover with water, and repeat the boiling process twice more.

Transfer the peel to a cutting board and slice it into ⅛-inch-wide strips. Slice it crosswise into small pieces.

2. On a cutting board, place the:

  • Sourdough loaf half

Use a bread knife to remove the crusts, then tear the interior of the loaf into small, bite-size pieces (you should have about 3½ cups). To a nonstick skillet set over medium heat, melt:

  • 5 tablespoons of the unsalted butter

Add:

  • Half the torn sourdough bread pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon of the sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of the freshly ground black pepper

Slowly brown the croutons, stirring often, until the croutons start to become golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add:

  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Half of the chopped lemon peel

Continue cooking until the croutons are deeply golden and the thyme is fragrant (take care, as the thyme may spatter), 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the croutons to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Repeat with the remaining bread, butter, salt, pepper, thyme and lemon peel. Serve warm or completely cooled (the croutons are best used within 1 day of making them).

ASK A CHEF Need help with this week's recipe? Get advice and tips from our Tasting Table Test Kitchen about this week's recipe. Talk now

STEP BY STEP

scs2013-bg-nav

TIPS & TECHNIQUES

Peel and Eat

Blanching the lemon peel in boiling water mellows its flavor and renders it soft and pliable; for a variation, try the same technique with orange peel.

Tear, Don't Cut

Part of the appeal of these croutons is their nubby texture, which comes from tearing the bread into bite-size pieces rather than cutting it into cubes. The lacy edges of the torn pieces get crisp and brown, adding crunchy texture to salads and soups.

 

 

scs2013-bg-nav

GET OUTFITTED FOR THIS RECIPE

close
The first image in a slideshow demo.