I grew up helping my mom in the kitchen, and I still remember the very first thing my mom ever let me make all by myself for family dinner. Garlic bread. I sliced the bread into really crooked, misshapen pieces; spread way too much butter on each piece; poured garlic salt from the wrong end of the spice lid, dumping copious amounts on the first two pieces before realizing my folly; and took it out of the oven way too early because I was so excited to be making it on my own. How grateful I am for a mom who let me at least try. :)
After many years, and many additional attempts, I’m happy to report I have now developed a technique for making garlic bread that is far superior, and still really simple. Wrote a song about it. Like to hear it, here it goes (In Living Color, anyone?).
For this recipe, I would really suggest having a mortar and pestle. Pulverizing garlic and herbs in a mortar and pestle brings out the oils and makes things just taste better. The ingredients you need are:
• 1 loaf of artisanal sourdough bread
• 1/2 lemon
• 1 small garlic clove (it’s important it be small – a little goes a long way)
• 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• salt and pepper
First, peel and cut off the stem from the garlic clove, then roughly chop it. Put it in the mortar and pestle, and mash it really good. Next, zest half the lemon and mash that in with the garlic. Finally, squeeze the juice from the lemon in with the garlic and zest and mash it all together, working the acids into the garlic. Let that sit about 5 minutes, then pull the leaves from the rosemary sprigs and add those to the lemon and garlic, and mash it together well. You don’t need to turn the rosemary to mush – you’re just working the oils out. Let that all sit, making sure all the garlic is submerged in the lemon juice, for 20 minutes. Add the extra virgin olive oil, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and mix together.
Slice the bread into 1 inch thick slices and brush it with the lemon-garlic mix. Grill it until it’s nice and toasty. Remove it from the grill and put it on an elevated cooling rack so it isn’t sitting flat on a plate or tray or something (that will create steam and make the bread soggy on the underside). Let the bread cool for about 5 minutes or so.
I love grilled bread, and topping it with this simple dressing makes it really sing. It’s seriously such a simple side dish, but everyone I’ve made it for agrees that it stands out in any meal. Serve it with a variety of grilled meats and a salad of roasted bell peppers, olives and feta – or just bring it to your 4th of July barbecue as your contribution to the spread. Either way, you and you’re posse are gonna dig it, for sure. Have a great weekend, y’all, and Happy Independence Day. :)