Sunday, March 27, 2011

Garlic Bread (with or without Cheese)


Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was pretty uneducated in the kitchen. It was with great pride that I figured out how to make my own flavored butters to put on foods that then were cooked in the oven. Now, thinking back, I used to eat a lot of salmon with pesto butter. Then I got damn sick and tired of salmon. Because, I think I had too much of a good thing.

To this day, I'm still ho-hum about eating salmon unless it's in a sushi roll with jalapeno pepper and deep fried.

But I digress. Back to flavored butter. 

Flavored butter sounds hard, but it's really one easy way to add flavor and buttery goodness to food.  Garlic bread has to be one of the easiest examples.  You make up the butter, add bread, cook it. Voila. 

You could make a larger batch of flavored butter and keep it in the freezer. Just bring up to room temperature before use.  If you try to keep in in the fridge, it won't have a long storage life.  It will only be good for a few days since the added fresh herbs, spices or whatnot would normally spoil quickly.  They won't keep any better mixed into butter, so don't use old stuff and make yourself sick.

One more thing to note, I used fresh garlic. It just tastes so much better than dried "garlic bread seasoning" or garlic from a jar. if you are a lover for prechopped garlic in a jar, I will say this. Not all brands of jarred garlic are created equal. Some genuinely taste horrible, while others are merely bland. I have tried garlic in a jar and found minced garlic in olive oil is disgusting. The most normal tasting one was an organic brand of just minced garlic with no added oil or artificial junk.

Ingredients
1 loaf French bread
6 Tablespoons room temperature butter
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
1 cup shredded cheese, Colby-Jack, Cheddar or a pizza blend with Mozzarella

Method
1. Combine butter, garlic, and parsley in a small bowl.  Mix well.

2. Slice bread in half lengthwise.  Spread garlic butter evenly on each cut surface.


3. Toast under the broiler in your oven, on Low Broil.  You will need to watch it and move it around so it toasts evenly. This should take less than 5 minutes. By the way, keep the bread on a flat cookie sheet for easy maneuvering under the broiler. You don't want to singe your oven mitt and drop the food. (Nope, I have never done that myself, but I've had other mishaps.)



4. If you want cheese bread, evenly sprinkle cheese over garlic butter (from step 2), then toast under the broiler. I used a Colby-Jack blend of cheese here. Broil until cheese melts and the edges are toasty.


5. Slice while still warm  into 2 or 3 inch pieces and serve.