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For our best garlic bread recipe, we toasted a generous amount of whole garlic cloves to mellow the harshness and highlight the rich, sweet, nutty flavor. We used butter sparingly to give the bread ample richness without marring its texture with overwhelming greasiness. And we added a sparing amount of cheese for depth and complexity without interfering with the garlic flavor.
- 9 - 10 medium cloves garlic (about the size of a plump cashew nut), skins left on
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 1 loaf Italian bread (high-quality); about 1 pound, football-shaped), halved lengthwise
- Ground black pepper
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Meanwhile, toast garlic cloves in small skillet over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally, until fragrant and color of cloves deepens slightly, about 8 minutes. When cool enough to handle, skin and mince cloves (you should have about 3 tablespoons). Using dinner fork, mash garlic, butter, cheese, and salt in small bowl until thoroughly combined.
- Spread cut sides of loaf evenly with garlic butter mixture; season to taste with pepper. Transfer loaf halves, buttered side up, onto baking sheet; bake, reversing position of baking sheet in oven from front to back halfway through baking time, until surface of bread is golden brown and toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Cut each half into 2-inch slices; serve immediately.
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