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Garlic Bread – Much Improved! Recipes for Catalan and Italian Style Grilled Garlic Bread
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Grilled breads, 2 ways
I grew up on supermarket garlic bread. A loaf of “Italian” style soft white bread in a pseudo rustic shape cut in half lengthwise, slathered in some form of butter and garlic, wrapped in tinfoil and ready to be baked at home for 10 minutes or so.
It was OK, actually, I mean, anything with that much butter in it can hardly taste bad – but when I compare it to either of the two versions of garlic bread that follow, I wonder what the heck I was thinking eating that stuff!
Here are 2 versions, for very simple garlic bread, one Catalan (Spain) and the other Italian. They are both supremely simple and so rely heavily on the quality of a few good ingredients for their success. I like to make these with a mild white-flour sourdough, but you can use any kind of good quality white-flour rustic bread with great success.
It is very well worth sourcing a good supplier of “real” bread. By real bread, I mean bread that not only looks like hearth baked rustic bread, but that actually tastes like it as well. There is nothing better than the complex ever changing tastes of a real slow-made loaf of artisan bread – and those artisan bakers deserve our support too – baking like that is hard work!
Catalan Bread with Tomatoes
This recipe is to be made only when tomatoes are local and fragrant. Here are instructions for one – you can obviously multiply it as needed.
- 1 slice of ¾ inch thick rustic white bread
- 1 clove of garlic, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 tomato cut in half perpendicular to the top and bottom (cut this way sp that it will better release its juices when you rub it into te bread)
- Olive oil
- On a preheated grill, toast the slice of bread for about 2 or 3 minutes, turning it over from time to time. When it is toasted to your liking, remove from the heat.
- Tale half of a clove of garlic, and rub it cut side down all over the top side of the bread.
- Take your tomatoes half, and rub it, cut side down, all over the toasted bread, smearing the fresh tomatoes juices and pulp into the toasted bread.
- Sprinkle with salt
- Drizzle over a generous quantity of fruity extra virgin olive oil.
When the tomatoes are ripe, this is heavenly; and it just proves once again that the simplest recipes are the best ones.
Italian Style Garlic Bread
Follow the instructions above, but omit the tomato.