Garlic bread:

Photo:  Chris Wiles Photgraphy

Garlic bread:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      10-15 mins.  

Course:        Accompaniment

Serves:        4  

Rating:         1:  Very easy

Ah yes, the good ol’ garlic bread.  Great for any time.  Watching the telly with a pint after being outside walking the dog on a cold day…. Anytime.

I don’t expect that as a rookie-cookie you’ll want to keep a container of garlic butter around, but I’ll tell you what to do anyway because it makes garlic bread easier to do than just easy.

Find:-

  • 4 half-sized baguettes (or, logically, 2 full-sized)
  • Pack of slightly salted butter; softened – either out of the fridge for several hours or having been in the microwave for ten – twenty seconds
  • 4-8 big cloves of garlic

METHOD:

  • Put a normal pack of salted butter, unwrapped of course, in a non-metallic bowl for 10 seconds in the microwave.
  • Squeeze the garlic cloves under a wide-bladed cook’s knife, top’n’tail them and remove their paper-like skins.
  • Slice the garlic and then chop all of the slices very finely indeed, making sure than none have attempted to escape by climbing up the blade of the knife – some garlic can be sly like this, y’know.
  • Drop the garlic into the bowl of softened butter and mix thoroughly with a fork. Season with lots of ground black pepper – black magic.

If you can get half-length baguettes, they can be more convenient to give one to each person

  • Slice the baguette at an angle, at about one-inch intervals, almost – but not quite – right through to the base of the bread (lay a skewer, spoon or similar each side of the baguette and you’ll never cut right through!).
  • Part the bread and in each slot in turn put a good dollop of the garlic butter. Brush butter along its length on top, to brown it beautifully.
  • Close it all up again, place it onto foil, on an oven baking tray and pop into a preheated oven at gas 6/7 for 10-15 mins to heat the bread though, melt the butter and make it fantastic.
  • Take out of the oven, lifting the foil from the baking tray, and pop onto long plates or serving dishes.

You may need a bib to keep the butter off your clothes – or just don’t bother to wear any.

French bread appetizer:

French bread appetizer:

PICTURE 3

One thing that I really like to do (and to join in with) is something that is done quite often in some of the better restaurants in the Languedoc-Roussillon region and in other places in France; to have a small bowl with an amount of extra virgin olive oil and some balsamic vinegar (about 4:1 ratio, oil to vinegar) and some cut or torn baguette.  The bread is simply dipped into the bowl and eaten.  You need to use a nice olive oil (I use a good Greek EVOO that I buy from the market in my town) and you must avoid using the really cheap, thin, ‘value’ balsamic vinegar as it simply is not a nice enough taste, but the something like a mid-range balsamic should do fine.

This really simple appetizer is lovely and starts off a meal wonderfully well, setting the standard for the courses to come.

And yes, you ARE capable of keeping up to the standard – just stick with me, follow my destructions and all will be well.