Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ciabatta Garlic Bread

I love LOVE garlic bread. I could seriously eat a loaf by myself as an appetizer... and maybe another loaf as my entrée. I am always on the hunt for a new garlic bread recipe, and my eye caught this recipe in Ina’s new book. The garlic bread came out FANTASTIC. It reminded me of the pure taste of garlic bread when we took a family vacation to Italy when I was in high school. I loved Italian food here, but I LOVED Italian food in Italy. The flavors tasted so pure and fresh, and this bread tasted the same. The ingredients are very basic, and thus it is important to use fresh herbs. This bread took no time to make and bake, so it was an ideal side for a weeknight meal. The ciabatta bread was the perfect bread to use, with its crusty, crunchy exterior and its soft, chewy texture inside. If you don’t have ciabatta bread, I would think French bread or a baguette will do great too.

After reading through numerous reviews, here are some of the changes I made:

  • Olive oil: I opted to cut the amount of olive oil in half.
  • Baking time: I also prefer crunchy garlic bread that is toasted on top. Thus, when I removed the foil (Step #8), I placed the ciabatta bread “open-faced” back into the oven so both sides could be toasted. I had a little difficulty trying to toast the bread when I placed it back open-faced- I toasted it for almost 20 minutes, and even increased the oven temperature to 400 degrees and re-toasted for an additional 5 minutes. While the top did get toasted, I felt that the exterior ciabatta crust got too toasted and resulted in a very hard, crusty exterior- which somewhat ruined the ciabatta. I will have to fiddle around with oven temps next time- maybe follow Ina's direction and then do a quick broil to toast the top but not get the exterior too crusty? Update 3/10/13: After baking it open-faced for the 5 minutes, I did a quick broil and watched it until it was golden brown on the edges. Worked beautifully.
  • Evenly seasoned bread: I also prefer to have evenly seasoned bread- thus I buttered both sides, and placed the garlic mixture on both sides as well.
  • Parmesan cheese addition: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese would be a nice addition, but since I paired this bread with Ina’s Turkey Lasagna, I opted not to since the lasagna is plenty cheesy.

I will never go to pre-packaged frozen garlic bread. Ever again.

  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (I have used 1 Tbsp dried parsley in a pinch)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh oregano leaves (you can try fresh rosemary leaves instead)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup good olive oil (I used ¼ cup)
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (I used 4 Tbsp, since I buttered both sides)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the garlic in the bowl of a food processor, and process until minced.
  3. Add the parsley, oregano, salt and pepper, and pulse twice.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan and add the garlic mixture. Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Slice the ciabatta bread in half horizontally, and spread the butter on 1 half. (I buttered both halves.)       
  6. Spread the garlic mixture on the other half of the bread, and put the halves together. (I buttered and placed the garlic mixture on both halves.) Wrap the bread in aluminum foil.
  7. Place the bread in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
  8. Open the foil, and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes. (I opened the ciabatta bread, and placed it back into the oven “open-faced” so both sides could get toasted.)
  9. Do a quick broil under edges are golden brown. Cut, and enjoy!

Source: Ina Garten, Back to Basics


Joelen said...

Looks delicious and a great pairing with your lasagna!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, I have recently been searching for information about this topic for ages and yours is the best I have discovered so far.

perlhaqr said...

IMO: Broiling is an excellent "finisher" for garlic bread, pizza, biscuits (just a very leeeetle bit with these) rolls, etc, if you have a bit of chese or something which might end up soggy, like a butter mixture on bread, for instance, and you want a bit of crisping without making the bottom layer of bread really overdone and hard.

I too am a tremendous garlic bread fan. :)

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