|A garnish...or a mess?|
restaurants and was served an overdressed pile of greens with a heaping
helping of commercially manufactured croutons that were too small to be
speared with a fork. The ideal sprinkling of croutons is supposed to
be garnish, but this Caesar looked like someone had coated the lettuce with breakfast cereal.
How did it come to this?
Croutons date back to the 16th century as a way to
creatively use stale bread. Today's croutons aren't about frugality,
though. Restaurant patrons have become accustomed to having crunchy
little cubes of bread -- toasted, not stale -- tossed in their salads.
The best are made in-house (yes,
from stale bread or rolls) by tossing the cubed bread in a saute pan
with butter or a little olive oil. A few of these in a salad are a nice
touch. Too many and it's not a salad anymore but an exploded sandwich.
Which brings me back to that Hereford Caesar and its tasteless crouton overkill.
"Did these come out of a big bag?" I asked the server.
"No," he said. "A big tin. We used to make our own croutons, but not anymore."
Et tu, Hereford? Et tu?