The Best Garlic Bread

The Best Garlic Bread | Cravings & Crumbs

Garlic bread.  You might be wondering why we even need a recipe for garlic bread.  Mix garlic with butter, spread it on bread, bake it.  Done.  Well, despite being so straightforward I often get well accomplished home cooks asking me how to make it.  Heck, I treat myself to it so rarely that I often question myself when I make it.  So I made my ideal version of garlic bread and wrote everything out so that next time I want to make the best garlic bread ever I can just look back at this recipe!

The Best Garlic Bread | Cravings & Crumbs

The first step to the best garlic bread is to start with good bread.  I like to grab a loaf of ciabatta because once you’re done baking it the edges get a nice crunch to them, but because of the large holes in the bread’s structure is stays soft in the middle.  The second secret is to let the garlic infuse into the butter for at least 30 minutes, but preferably longer to maximize and evenly distribute the garlicky-ness.

The Best Garlic Bread | Cravings & Crumbs

The final step is baking.  We start the garlic bread at a pretty standard heat to melt the butter and toast the bottom slightly, but the trick is to finish it off with the broiler so you can get exactly the amount of crispiness that you want.  Not only does it speed up the process, but it ensures that the inside of the bread doesn’t dry out too much.

The Best Garlic Bread | Cravings & Crumbs

Listen, it’s hard to go wrong with garlic bread unless you burn it to a crisp, but this is just my method to maximize the best parts.  So use whatever bread you prefer and add any extra seasonings that you like.  I guarantee there won’t be any leftovers!  There never are when it comes to garlic bread…

The Best Garlic Bread | Cravings & Crumbs

And if you’re looking for a good recipe to serve with this garlic bread, hop on over to my everyday meatballs and sauce recipe.  The sauce is cooked with a cup of red wine, so it’s a great excuse to crack open a bottle and have a glass with dinner.

The Best Garlic Bread
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Ingredients
  1. 1 loaf ciabatta or french bread
  2. 1 stick salted butter, softened
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2 T. chopped fresh parsley (or 2 t. dried)
  5. ½ t. garlic powder
  6. ¼ t. dried basil
Instructions
  1. Mix butter, garlic, parsley, garlic powder, and basil in a small bowl. Allow flavors to marry for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 weeks (in the refrigerator).
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  3. Cut bread in half lengthwise and spread both halves evenly with garlic butter. Lay bread, cut side up on a baking tray. Bake 10-12 mins to melt the butter, then broil briefly to crispy and brown the bread to your liking. Do not walk away!! Stay right near the oven and check every 30 seconds or so, as it will only take a minute or two.
  4. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into 1-inch pieces.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Fancy Mushroom Toasts

Fancy Mushroom Toast | Cravings & Crumbs

I have a sort of foodie friend in the office I work in.  We chat about recipes we’ve tried, new ingredients we found, what we’re going to cook over the weekend, cookbooks, pretty much anything food related.  I love finding people who love to cook because talking to them gets me excited about new flavors, cuisines, and ingredients that I might not have been familiar with or known about before.

Fancy Mushroom Toast | Cravings & Crumbs

A few weeks ago he came into the office on Monday morning talking about a meal he had at Gjelina over the weekend.  He led with the dessert heavenly butterscotch pots de creme then he moved on to the mushroom toast.  I have no idea what else he ate there because we couldn’t move past the mushrooms.  Oh my god, the mushroom toast.  The chef says he can’t take these off the menu because the customers will revolt.  They’re that good.

Fancy Mushroom Toast | Cravings & Crumbs

Like any obsessive home cook, he had already bought the cookbook and was ready to try to recreate them at home.  I wouldn’t have thought much more about these mushroom toasts except to ask for a follow-up the next week.  But the next week he hadn’t made them.  The week after that he bought a mixture of fancy mushrooms at the farmer’s market, but was stymied by the homemade creme fraiche, which had to be cultured at exactly 78° F…  Three weeks I waited for the report on the mushrooms toasts!  And in the meantime I found myself reading blog posts of people who had recreated them and scrolling through instagram shots from the restaurant just to see what they looked like in their natural habitat.  Yeah, I know I have problems.

Fancy Mushroom Toast | Cravings & Crumbs

Eventually i had to take matters into my own hands.  A quick trip to my local produce market to pick up mushrooms and good bread and a jaunt over to Trader Joe’s for reasonably priced creme fraiche and I was ready!  I was out of garlic confit, although I have a recipe for my version right over here, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.  I quickly infused some garlic in oil, used that to toast the breads.  You can toast them in the toaster, but for this recipe it’s much better on the stovetop (or grill, as the original recipe calls for) because the outside will be incredibly crunchy, but the inside of the slices will still be moist and springy.  A quick saute of the mushrooms, reduction of some white wine and shallots, and the addition of some creme fraiche and I was eating the best lunch I could ask for!

Fancy Mushroom Toast | Cravings & Crumbs

The recipe notes say that the chef enjoys a big slab of mushroom toast with an earthy glass of red wine for dinner and I must say he’s on to something.  Normally you might match the wine to whatever type of wine you used in the dish, but here the earthy meatiness of the mushrooms is perfect with red.  This is a decadent and delicious vegetarian appetizer or main course that I would be more than happy to eat again and again.

So here it is, a doable version of the original.  Although homemade garlic confit and homemade buttermilk creme fraiche would undoubtedly be amazing with this recipe, if they’re holding you back from making this recipe then don’t do them!  If you do want to go the extra mile, you can find the original recipe in full here.

Fancy Mushroom Toasts
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Ingredients
  1. ⅓ c. olive oil
  2. 5 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  3. 2-4 slices good bread (depending on size)
  4. ½ lb mushrooms (see notes)
  5. Salt and pepper
  6. 2 T minced shallots
  7. 1 T butter (optional)
  8. ½ c. dry white wine
  9. 1T fresh thyme
  10. ½ c. creme fraiche
  11. 2 T fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Add the olive oil and garlic slices to a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook until garlic slices are beginning to brown on the edges, then remove with a slotted spoon and save for later. Remove oil from heat.
  2. Use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of garlic oil on both sides of the bread. Heat a frying pan over medium heat for 10 minutes, then add the bread in a single layer. Cook until the bread is crispy and browned on the first side, then flip and cook the second side in the same manner. Remove the toasts to a plate.
  3. Separate or chop mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. This will mean different things based on which mushrooms you have so use your best judgment of what size mushroom chunks will fit nicely on your toast. Turn the heat under the frying pan to medium high and add 3 T of the garlic olive oil to the frying pan. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook undisturbed until seared and well browned, about 5 minutes. Stir the mushrooms, add the shallots and the butter if the pan seems like it needs more moisture. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the wine, thyme, and reserved garlic slices and continue to cook until reduced by half.
  4. Stir in the creme fraiche and cook until thickened slightly, 1-2 mins. Stir in the parsley, taste and season again with salt and pepper, then spoon the mushrooms evenly over your toasts.
Notes
  1. Although these are fancy mushroom toasts, you should feel free to use any mushrooms that you have access to or can afford. I really know nothing about fancy mushrooms so I picked these based on looks and price and ended up with oyster and brown clamshell. The original recipe suggests a mix of nameko, hen of the woods, chanterelle, porcini, or matsutake. However, the mushrooms share the spotlight with the sauce and toast and as I was eating these I thought they would be just as delicious with regular old sliced crimini.
Adapted from Gjelina
Adapted from Gjelina
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Honey Whole Wheat Bread | Cravings & Crumbs

When I was in high school my mom found a bread machine at a thrift store and started baking bread for our family on a weekly basis.  You can almost always find a bread machine at a thrift store because people buy them with dreams of making homemade bread, and then they barely ever use it.  Not my mom though, she stuck with it.  Not surprising though because besides the fact that my family usually always takes the do-it-yourself route, fresh homemade bread is irresistibly delicious and costs less than a dollar to make! Read More

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Sausage Sandwiches with Chimichurri, Caramelized Onions, and Radicchio

Sausage Sandwiches with Chimichurri, Caramelized Onions, and Radicchio

Since as you may know, *ahem* I love to cook, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I can easily whip up a full dinner on a weeknight for myself and whoever I’m with.  And when I say dinner I mean a main course, vegetable, and starch side because to me, making a pasta dish for dinner is like taking a break.  But sometimes it’s good to take it easy, especially when that comes in the form of sausage sandwiches with chimichurri, caramelized onions, and shredded radicchio.  Originally I was going for an Argentinian choripan vibe here, but I don’t think they’d appreciate me putting caramelized onions and radicchio on there so we’ll just call them sausage sandwiches. Read More

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Grilled Zucchini Crostini

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Summer is here and with it comes a bounty of produce.  Although my zucchini plant is just at the blossoming stage now, I know that one day i’ll blink my eyes and suddenly i’ll have more squash than I know what to do with.  So, before we get to that desperate stage when we have zucchini coming out our ears, I present to you this simple and delicious grilled zucchini crostini. Read More

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Fig and Arugula Grilled Cheese

Fig Arugula Grilled Cheese | Cravings & Crumbs

I was recently perusing the online menus of restaurants near my work, trying to quiet my hunger, when something jumped out at me – “best ever slow-cooked grilled cheese”.  Ummm, what?  What in the world is a slow cooked grilled cheese, how does it differ from how I normally make grilled cheese, and why had nobody ever told me about this? Read More

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Easy Rosemary Focaccia

There’s really nothing like a warm loaf of bread fresh out of the oven.  Once the smell of this focaccia baking fills the kitchen, no one can resist taking a bite of the warm, tender bread with an olive-oil crisped bottom.  While professional bakeries can make some truly amazing loaves using starters that have been kept going for years and steam injected ovens, there are some breads that are just made for home bakers.  Focaccia is one of the first breads I baked by myself and continues to be a favorite of mine.  

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