Cheesy Garlic Bread

Sometimes, when dinner is hours away and you feel those hunger pangs, you need a little something to tide you over.  Or maybe you want to add a little decadence to round out a simple meal.  When you’re super hungry or your family/guests are circling like vultures when dinner is hours away, there’s one thing that’s sure to be loved by everyone, is super simple, and goes with a ton of different meals: garlic bread!

There are a few little-known tricks to making garlic bread that will put yours miles ahead of the rest.  All in all, you can throw this together in about 15 minutes as an offering to the gods of hunger, or maybe as an afterthought to a delicious pasta meal like my Campanelle with Chicken and Mushrooms: a few pieces of deliciously buttery, cheesy garlic bread along with a glass (or 4) of wine and you can get back to the good stuff – enjoying your time with friends and family!

served here with creamy chicken farfalle (that's for another post!)

served here with creamy chicken farfalle (that’s for another post!)

Cheesy Garlic Bread!
serving varies

Ingredients:

simple as that

simple as that

1 french baguette
3 T of butter
6 cloves garlic
1 handfull parmesanmozerella, asiago or whatever other Italian cheeses you have on hand
Salt to taste

…Seriously? That’s it?

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Cut your baguette into 1″ thick rounds.  Melt your butter in a small saucepan on low/medium.  Here comes that trick I was talking about!  When you use fresh garlic, it needs a lot of time to cook that acridity/bitterness out and become buttery and delicious.  Ever noticed how sometimes you’ll bite into a piece of garlic bread and that garlic still seems raw?  No matter how finely chopped it may be, the amount of time garlic bread needs in the oven doesn’t come close to the amount of time needed to get that garlic perfect.  Now, you could use powdered garlic, and in a pinch I commonly do.  However, if you want to elevate your garlic bread a tiny bit and use fresh garlic, here’s how to do it perfectly!

Once the butter is melted, toss your garlic in.  Let it cook on LOW/medium (we don’t want any browning!) in the butter.  This also flavors your butter with garlic, so that’s an added bonus!  Taste test about 5 minutes in and see if the garlic has lost its bite.  If so, go ahead and arrange your bread on a cookie sheet.

all your ducks in a row

all your ducks in a row

Using a spoon, or even better, a basting brush (this one is my favorite)…

… coat both sides of each piece of bread with the butter.  Then, top each piece with the garlic that is left in the bottom of the saucepan.  Sprinkle with your cheese and bake for about 10 minutes.  If you prefer a golden brown top, go ahead and broil until as toasty as you like.

locked and loaded

locked and loaded

Let cool 5 minutes and enjoy your guilty pleasure!

Wine:

I challenge you to find a wine that DOESN’T go with garlic bread.  Red or white, you can’t lose.  I’m gonna go out on a limb on this suggestion… but after taking Introduction to Wines at Cornell (one of my FAVORITE classes I took during my college experience!) I learned that palate beats price any day.  Of course, it would be wonderful to serve this along with waygu steak and with a $300 bottle of Bordeaux – but if you’re like me, that is literally impossible.  Instead, try something new – you just might like it.

Livingston Cellars Chianti

Livingston Cellars Chianti

You read that right.  This Chianti, while much milder than some of my favorites, is an easily drinkable red that stands up to some of the more pricey contenders.  And hey, if that huge bottle embarrasses you to serve to guests, just put it in a decanter – no one will ever know 😉

Espionage and garlic,
Echo

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