Saturday, September 18, 2010
The Garlic Bread Throwdown or The Best Garlic Bread You've Ever Eaten
Whoa. If you want to get a few comments on your facebook posting, claim to be the one to make the best garlic bread ever.
So I did. Make that claim, I mean. I wrote it just after a very simple dinner of pasta and garlic bread. As I enjoyed the slice of garlic bread, I thought to myself, "I make the best garlic bread ever." Then my daughter piped up: "Your garlic bread is the best I've ever tasted." Mr. BabetteFeasts agreed.
So what else would I do but brag on facebook? That brag resulted in requests for the recipe, one challenge (you are on, Jeanne) and one description of another friend's method.
But I have the secret, and I will share it. Make a paste of the garlic and some coarse Kosher salt, then warm butter with that garlic/salt paste in it--let it sit (steeping, I suppose) while you prep anything else (get the bread out, put the pasta in the water, clean up a mess). I think this step takes some of the sharpness from raw garlic out of the equation and it makes ALL the butter flavored with garlic. Then brush that melted garlic butter onto GOOD bread (I got La Brea baguettes warm from the market ovens yesterday). Sprinkle with chopped flat-leaf parsley and some freshly ground black pepper--again, just a bare grinding or two. Wrap in foil, warm in oven. Eat.
Here are my proportions--very garlicky, but...um...it's called garlic bread, helllOOOoooo? Vary proportions as you like. Use good butter, too. I used some fresh from a local dairy during the week, some KerryGold from Ireland for this blog post so I'd have a photo.
Babette's Best Garlic Bread
For 1 12.5 ounce baguette
2 garlic cloves
1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 to 2 ounces butter, depending on how decadent you are feeling
1 (roughly) 12-ounce baguette
1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat oven to 375ºF. Mince garlic then sprinkle with salt. Use a fork to mash garlic and salt to a paste. Place into microwave-safe bowl and add butter. Heat until just melted, stir, then heat another 20 seconds or so. Stir then let sit at least 3 or 4 minutes.
2. Slice baguette in half lengthwise. Generously brush each cut side with butter, making sure you "scoop" up chopped garlic each time you dip brush into butter. Sprinkle with parsley and a few grindings of black pepper.
3. Wrap loosely in foil (if it's too tight, the crust doesn't brown as nicely--leave top almost open--the real purpose of the foil here is to keep butter from dripping out in the oven) and heat in oven until hot and crust is nice and crunchy--roughly 8 minutes. Cut into pieces and enjoy.
Then tell me it's the best garlic bread you've ever eaten.
Note: If you are using unsalted butter, you may want to add another pinch of salt to buttered halves before you put the baguette into the oven. Salt according to taste at that point.