Garlic Bread, Tuscan-Style
There are easy recipes. And, there are easy recipes — food that folks who struggle with microwavable meal can master. Garlic bread is one such classic. It’s the sort of comfort food that every aspiring (or experienced) cook should have in their recipe rotation.
But, the Italian ancestor of this fan favorite is a lot less greasy than you might think. For most Americans, just mentioning garlic bread conjures up images of oven-toasted loaves doused in butter, parsley and mountains of minced garlic.
Oddly enough, mozzarella-draped garlic bread just doesn’t exist in the Old Country. In fact, the closest you’ll find to garlic bread in Italy is a simple Tuscan appetizer called fettunta — oil-slicked toast rubbed with raw garlic. While not straying far from the grease + bread + garlic equation, fettunta might better be thought of as. . . garlicky bread.
If American garlic bread showcases the zing of garlic and the stringiness of mozzarella, the star of fettunta is the bread itself. To be sure, garlic is still here. It’s just not the main attraction — one note in a choir rather than that voice that makes you forget all others. Since garlic won’t overpower the bread, it’s key that you get your hands on a quality loaf — like the crusty bread sold in Little Italy’s own Solunto Ristorante and Bakery.
To make this grand-daddy of garlic bread, just rub raw cloves right on your toasted or grilled bread. The warm surface absorbs just a hint of the garlic’s punch. You taste the bread. You taste the fruity olive oil. You taste the garlic. No one flavor kills off the others. Served hot, this is easy and light finger food.
- 1 loaf crusty Italian bread, sliced
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (1/2 cup)
- 6 or so peeled garlic cloves
- Salt & pepper
Flash toast (on high heat) or grill your sliced bread. Grilling will endow the final dish with a rich, smoky aftertaste. Once crisp and charred, take a clove of garlic and rub it into the bread’s rough surface. The garlic will rub off. Garlic up each hot slice this way. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. As a finishing step, pour a big glug of extra-virgin olive oil over each garlicky piece. The warm bread will absorb the oil. Serve hot.
What do you think of this garlic bread recipe from Italy, guys?
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