May 21st, 2014
On Monday it was Chicken Marsala, so today it must be garlic bread. Let’s do it Jersey style and make it Cheesy Garlic Bread. Because why not? If we’re going to make an old school Italian red sauce restaurant meal, we might as well do it right!
This garlic bread is heavenly and, in keeping with my Chicken Marsala, it’s also buttery. Very buttery. (I believe there is a causal relationship between buttery and heavenly. Who’s with me?) It’s also cheesy thanks to thin slices of fresh, melted mozzarella.
You’d think that tasty, buttery, and cheesy covers all the most important features of my Cheesy Garlic bread, but there’s something else. Something that, if you ask me, is the most important note about this bread: it isn’t over garlicky.
I love garlic as much as the next red sauce cuisine lover, but too-big hunks of soggy, sharp garlic do not make good garlic bread. In fact, you won’t find a single piece of garlic on this bread. Instead, I infuse the butter with smashed garlic so that it has all the flavor we need and none of the drenched hunks that we don’t.
Like the Chicken Marsala, this cheesy garlic bread is easy to throw together, but probably best treated as an every once in a while meal. At least for me. Otherwise, I’d get addicted to the big flavor, warm bread, and melty cheese of it all. It’s almost too good! And I know two little boys—and one big—who agree. Let’s see if you do, too.
Cheesy Garlic Bread
(Can be shared with kids 10+ mos)*
4 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
One demi loaf Italian bread, cut in half lengthwise
4 or 5 slices of fresh mozzarella
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add the smashed garlic and reduce heat to low. Cook the butter for 5 minutes to infuse it with a strong garlic flavor. You don’t want to brown the butter, though the garlic may start to turn golden brown around the edges by the end of the 5 minutes. Remove from heat and discard the garlic.
2. Brush the garlic butter on the bread, dividing it evenly between the two halves. Lay on slices of mozzarella—as many as you see fit; 2 1/2 slices on each half works well for me—and sprinkle with some parsley. Place bread on a baking sheet and cook in preheated oven for 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the edges of the bread crusty. Remove bread from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes before cutting into serving sized pieces and sprinkling with more parsley for serving.
Note: While there is nothing in this that is unsafe for younger eaters, I recommend sharing this butter deliciousness with slightly older babies who are well skilled at eating finger foods. No matter what age your little eater, be sure to cool this completely and cut into age appropriate bite sizes before sharing.