Having a BBQ this Memorial Day? Never underestimate the power of garlic bread* at a backyard soiree. I’ve seen guests chow down on garlic bread with wild abandon, even ignoring the rest of the delectables laid out before them. Their obsession, however, could work to your advantage if you’ve underestimated the amount of ribs or burgers you were going to need to feed your guests.
Garlic bread is usually quick and easy to make, but everyone I know puts their own special tweak on it. Some add this and some add that, a bit of parmesan or parsley, a touch of chile flakes or basil, but for scrumptious, straightforward, can’t-get-enough-of-it garlic bread, there is a special technique for making it the best you’ve ever tasted.
I found this out as I watched Val Filice (the late, great Gilroy Garlic Festival head chef) make garlic bread at a Ranch function many years ago. I had always wondered why his garlic bread was so much yummier than any I had ever tasted – it had garlic, it had butter – but that day I hovered around him to see what culinary mojo he possessed. His “secret” turned out to be very simple but I felt like I had struck gold when I saw what it was.
Before I spill the details, here’s what you need to get started on…
THE BEST GARLIC BREAD I’VE EVER TASTED
2 to 3 cubes of butter per loaf of bread – substitute one cube of butter with margarine if desired – but only one!
2 to 3 tbls. finely chopped, fresh Christopher Ranch California Heirloom Garlic per cube of butter – *Never underestimate the power of Christopher Ranch Garlic to make your garlic bread spectacular!
Several loaves of fresh, sweet French bread – figure ¼ loaf per person. That may be a generous estimate – then again it might be conservative after your guests taste it.
Roasting pan at least 3” deep and large enough to hold the full length of a loaf of French bread.
Barbecue grill at low to medium heat (or broiler if you’re staying in.)
Now you’re ready for the final procedure. Drumroll, please…
Slowly melt butter in roasting pan on the grill or stove top while adding fresh, chopped CR garlic. Stir and let mixture sit on very low heat for about 10 minutes without burning. Butter will separate like it’s clarified, but don’t skim off foam or separate it. Stir occasionally.
Slice loaves of bread lengthwise. Place sliced bread cut side down on the grill or cut side up in broiler and grill/broil until browned and toasty. Give the garlic butter a stir to evenly blend butter and garlic chunks, then dip the entire cut surface of the toasted bread into the garlic butter for about 2 seconds – don’t over soak or completely submerge the bread into the mixture.
Cymbal crash! That’s the secret, folks – use CR garlic (make it easy with CR Peeled Garlic), toast the bread first, then dip, slice and serve. When you take your first bite, garlic butter should run down your chin. Ohhhyuummm, garlicious…
P. S. Have a fun, safe Memorial Day, and while you’re enjoying this holiday, please take a moment to honor those lost in the service of our country.