How to Make the Best Garlic Bread
Garlic bread is a simple concept; this is garlic bread. But only in these two ingredients there is a lot of room for variation. I fiddled with both the bread and the garlic portion of the hot carbs (the butter, however, is non-negotiable), and I ended up with what I think is a perfectly ideal situation.
Although garlic bread is an Italian concept, I prefer to use French batar as my delivery system. Not only does it have the perfect ratio of soft, open crumb to chewy crust, it’s shorter and wider than a baguette, which means you’ll have more surface to paint with great garlic oil.
For garlic oil, you need what some consider an indecent amount of garlic, cooked in two different ways. A whole head of toasted garlic gives the bread a sweet, roasted flavor, while an additional five cloves of raw food add spiciness and a little warmth. I use salted butter because it removes the need for seasoning, but you can always use a sweet oil and salt it yourself. Finally, a small handful of fresh, flat-leaf parsley adds a touch of grassy flavor. You will notice that there is no Parmesan cheese here because it hides the taste of the garlic and does not respect it. (Cheese bread is very good, but that’s a different matter.) To make it yourself, you will need:
- French batar or other crispy white bread, cut into slices.
- 1 stick of butter, room temperature, divided into eight parts
- 1 head of garlic + 5 cloves, minced
- A little olive oil
- 1 small handful of fresh, flat-leaf parsley (mostly to taste, add a little)
Preheat oven to 400 ℉. Remove the loose, paper-like outer layer from the head of the garlic, trim the top about 1/4 inch to expose the cloves, and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the garlic in foil and bake in the oven until caramelized, about 40 minutes.
Once that’s done, place it in a food processor along with the butter and five cloves of raw garlic. Process by scraping off the side of the bowl as needed until smooth. Add the parsley and pulsate until it spreads well over the butter, being careful not to blend it until it is.
Spread generously with butter on the sliced bread, switch the oven to the frying mode (if available) and place everything directly on the oven rack. Let it simmer until it starts to brown around the edges. Serve immediately with something doused in tomato sauce, or simply pour over it in your mouth while drinking wine from a tin. Both have passed Claire’s tests and are approved by Claire.