When I was sick a couple weeks back, my love for bread and butter was renewed. Bagels, English muffins, toast, the only thing I really wanted to eat was toasted bread and butter in various forms. Typically, I steer clear of bread and pasta that aren’t of the whole wheat variety. But as I learned while I was laying on the couch, unable to cook anything else, I realized that sometimes nothing but good old white bread will cut it.
Growing up, we never ate much garlic bread. Actually, come to think about it, I don’t think my mom ever made garlic bread for dinner, which is probably why I never really developed a taste for the stuff. Maybe it has more to do with the fact that most garlic bread is made with either garlic powder, which always comes off as overly salty and slightly artificial.
So when I found myself with a baguette and a head of garlic I thought it was high time to give garlic bread a bit of an upgrade. Roasted garlic mixed with creamy butter, spread atop bread and topped with coarse salt, fresh cracked pepper and smoky paprika.
If you’re new to roasting garlic, be prepared for a treat. It’s amazing what a drizzle of olive oil and 40 minutes in the oven can do for a humble clove of garlic, and in turn, a loaf of bread. Instead of giving off a sharp, pungent flavor, roasting garlic creates a rich, sweet paste that can be spread onto crackers or bread.
Roasted Garlic Bread
*1 medium-size baguette or ciabatta loaf, halved lengthwise
*1 head garlic
*3 Tbsp. butter, softened
*Preheat oven to 450°F.
*With papery skin intact, cut the top 1/4 portion off the top (skinnier end) of the garlic head, exposing some of the garlic cloves inside. Drizzle garlic with olive oil and wrap completely in aluminum foil.
*Place foil packet in the oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until garlic is golden brown and soft. Remove from oven and cool until able to be handled, about 15 to 20 minutes.
*Squeeze garlic cloves out onto a plate. Discard papery skin. With a fork, mash the garlic until smooth. Stir garlic and butter together until well combined.
*Spread garlic butter onto bread halves. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and paprika, if desired. Bake on a baking sheet for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until bread is golden brown and slightly crisp. Slice and serve immediately.