The first time I made a spring salad with homemade, heart shaped croutons, and Japanese heart shaped cucumbers, I thought it was one of the most beautiful salads I had ever seen. Not because I made it, but because it presents luxuriously. The cherry tomato heart in the center is simple, impressive, and makes a grand statement, too.
I was making the salad for a family brunch and wanted something light and unique. My family knows I enjoy trying new recipes and new ways to present food.
I use my heart shaped cookie cutters when I bake cookies and cut fruits and vegetables, but I had never tried it on croutons. They made a huge difference in the the presentation of the spring salad and its taste.
It is absolutely amazing how the homemade heart shaped croutons impacted the salad. I have eaten store bought croutons packed in a nice designed bag for years, but never thought anything about how hard they were, until I made a batch of croutons from scratch at home in my oven. Believe me when I tell you they are like night and day, hard and soft.
Homemade croutons are unbelievably good. They are fresh and packed with flavor. And guess what? Homemade croutons are soft in the middle and crispy around the edges, the way croutons should be.
Like I mentioned earlier, I never really gave much thought about that or the taste of croutons until I made my own. The freshness is amazing. It’s like eating homemade biscuits right out of the oven.
I had no idea croutons could taste and look so good – golden brown, sprinkled with herbs and seasonings.
And when shaped like a heart, the croutons, cucumbers and cherry tomato make quite a statement. See the recipe below.
This is not a salad and go dish. This is one to savor.
Serve this fresh, crouton heart, spring salad with our delicious Cornish hen. Click the link to watch a video https://youtu.be/xTWfvY-4u-k that shows how to make our Cornish hen.
2 SLICES OF BREAD (YOUR CHOICE)
2 TABLESPOONS EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
2 TABLESPOONS SAGE
2 TABLESPOONS ROSEMARY LEAVES
2 TABLESPOONS THYME LEAVES
2 TABLESPOONS SMOKED PAPRIKA
1/2 TEASPOON CAYENNE PEPPER
1/2 TEASPOON SEA SALT
1 NON-STICK, STAINLESS STEEL, HEART SHAPED COOKIE CUTTER (SMALL)
1 PARING KNIFE
1 CUTTING BOARD
PREHEAT OVEN 400 DEGREES ON BROIL
PRESS HEART SHAPED COOKIE CUTTER INTO BREAD SLICES
MIX OLIVE OIL, SAGE, ROSEMARY LEAVES, THYME LEAVES, SMOKED PAPRIKA, CAYENNE PEPPER AND SEA SALT IN A BOWL
DRIZZLE ALL OVER HEART SHAPED BREAD FRONT AND BACK
PLACE HEART SHAPED BREAD ON
NON-STICK COOKIE SHEET
PLACE IN OVEN 2-3 MINUTES OR UNTIL HEART SHAPED CROUTONS ARE GOLDEN BROWN
1 LARGE JAPANESE CUCUMBER
JAPANESE CUCUMBER INSTRUCTIONS
WASH JAPANESE CUCUMBER
DRY WITH PAPER TOWEL
PLACE JAPANESE CUCUMBER ON CUTTING BOARD
SLICE JAPANESE CUCUMBER ABOUT AN INCH THICK (OR AS THICK AS YOU PREFER)
CAREFULLY PRESS HEART SHAPED COOKIE CUTTER INTO CUCUMBER SLICES
CAREFULLY PRESS CUCUMBER OUT OF HEART SHAPED COOKIE CUTTER
CHERRY TOMATOES INGREDIENTS
1/2 CUP CHERRY TOMATOES
CHERRY TOMATO HEART INSTRUCTIONS
SLICE CHERRY TOMATO DIAGONALLY IN THE MIDDLE
PLACE THE LARGE PART OF THE TOMATO CUT SIDE DOWN ON CUTTING BOARD
SLICE THE LARGE PART IN HALF
PUT THE TWO LARGE SIDES TOGETHER
PRESTO – YOU HAVE A HEART SHAPED TOMATO!
SPRING SALAD INGREDIENTS
2 CUPS SPRING MIX, INCLUDING BABY SPINACH, BABY LETTUCE AND RADICCHIO
1/4 FRESH PARMESAN CHEESE
ARRANGE SPRING MIX IN THE CENTER OF PLATE
ARRANGE JAPANESE CUCUMBER HEARTS AROUND THE PLACE
PLACE CHERRY TOMATO HEART ON TOP SPRING MIX IN THE CENTER
PLACE CROUTON HEARTS AROUND CHERRY TOMATO HEART
SPRINKLE WITH FRESH PARMESAN CHEESE
NOTE: I serve this spring salad with ranch, bleu cheese, vinaigrette, or a thousand island salad dressing. Serve it with your favorite salad dressing