Does one make a Bracha on croutons that are in a lettuce salad?
This is a good question and the answer isn’t so simple. The first thing is that it depends on the type of crouton, if it the type that s mezonos or hamotzei. If they are mezonos and there are only a few croutons in there for color, then the bracha on the salad would stay hoadomo. However in most cases the croutons are there for taste, and we would make a mezonos on them. The reason is because when food from the five grains is added to a mixture it becomes the ikar, so the bracha is mezonos. The main question here is if we have to make a separate hoadomo on the salad. There are opinions that we should indeed make two brachos, since it is considered like we have two “ikar”s here.
Therefore the preferred thing to do is to take some vegetables and make hoadomo on them, and afterwards to make mezonos on the croutons. (Although mezonos is usually made before hoadomo, in this case we can’t do so because, after the mezonos we can’t make hoadomo, since it might have already been included in the mezonos.) Alternatively, you can take a different vegetable, and say hoadomo on it.
If however the bracha on the croutons are hamotzei, then one should say hamotzei, especially if there are a lot of them. Some suggest that in this case, the croutons should be eaten only during a meal to avoid any issue of making a second bracha on the salad.
As aside point the yellow croutons are always mezonos. Regarding the ones that look like bread, if they are small flavored ones, they are mezonos, but the larger ones may be hamotzei.
Chayei Adam 51-13, 54-9, M:B 212-1, Shar Hatzion ibid 2, conversation with R’ B. Forst shlit”a author of The laws of Brachos, V’zos Habracha 8-3 and 12-7, Share Habracha 15- 16,17, Ibid pg. 633 regarding croutons in a vegetable salad.