The Best Garlic Bread
This recipe is titled "The Best Garlic Bread." It is a big claim. I don't use the name "Best" to describe my recipes very often. They have to live up to this very high bar to qualify. I have published a few "bests" over the years: The Best Picnic Sandwich, The Best Prime Rib Roast, The Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie and The Best Mac & Cheese. I stand by these "best" recipes and today I add another best recipe: The Best Garlic Bread.
Silver's Restaurant InspirationOn a recent trip to South Hampton I had the good fortune to eat at Silver's restaurant, an iconic, multi-generation, family owned restaurant that is only open for lunch. I ordered their special of the day, chicken soup and fell in love with the flavorful and fragrant broth. You can see my version of this soup here. Silver's chicken soup was amazing, but so was their simple preparation of garlic bread, made with a French baguette, very good olive oil, granulated garlic powder, kosher salt and parsley. The bread is warmed in the oven and then placed in individual serving bowls filled with olive oil and seasonings. The hot bread warms the seasoned oil, making for a fragrant and almost intoxicating combination. This bread, for better or for worse, has become a staple at our house.
Simple to Make and Very Versatile
One night I planned on making this bread for dinner only to discover I had run out of granulated garlic powder. I was desolate and really did not want to run to the grocery store. Someone once said "If necessity is the mother of invention, then laziness is the father." In this case both necessity and laziness came into play. Instead of hopping on my bike or getting in the car to go to the store I opened up my near bursting, but recently organized, spice drawer and began looking for spices and spice blends I could use to flavor the oil. I was not disappointed with my improvisation and now have used Jacobson Black Garlic Salt, Trader Joe's Dukkah, OMG seasoning from Stonehouse Olive Oil, za'atar and other seasonings. Making this bread is a great way to use up those odd seasonings that have been hanging out in your spice drawer.
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My Favorite Kosher SaltIf you are not already using kosher salt for most of your cooking, I strongly encourage you to. Kosher salt is used by professional chefs for its texture and ease of distributing. Grab a pinch of kosher salt and you can easily see exactly where your salt is going, unlike finer table salt that quickly dissolves. Kosher salt is also crunchier and flakier than table salt. Did you know that when you use the same volume of kosher salt you are using much less salt by weight than when you use table salt? 1 teaspoon of table salt weighs almost twice what 1 teaspoon of kosher salt weighs. So if you are looking to cut back your salt intake, switching to kosher salt is a good strategy. But did you know there are differences between kosher salts? My favorite is Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. It is light and flakey and is almost half by weight as the same volume of Morton's Kosher salt.
Why This Is the Best Garlic BreadThere are several reasons I think this is the best garlic bread. This bread is:
- Delicious -- Taste it and I dare you to disagree.
- Fast and easy -- Takes only about 5 minutes to make.
- Healthy -- Gives you a good opportunity to consume some really good olive oil. Look for cold press, extra-virgin with high phenolic antioxidants (the stuff that makes olive oil good for you).
- Butter-free -- Don't get me wrong, I am no stranger to butter, especially bread and butter, but from a health standpoint a good olive oil wins hands down.
- Versatile -- You can use granulated garlic powder or a variety of spices and spice mixes to flavor the oil.
- Made with pantry items -- If you keep good olive oil, kosher salt and garlic powder in your pantry, all you need is a French baguette to make this bread.
So what do you think? Is this the best garlic bread?
The Best Garlic Bread
Yield 4 Servings
This garlic bread earns its name "best garlic bread" because it is fast and easy, healthy, versatile and of course delicious. Warmed bread is served in a pool of good olive oil and seasonings.
- 1 French baguette
- 6 ounces really good quality cold press extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 t garlic powder
- Kosher or Maldon salt
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a serrated knife, divide the baguette into four lengths. Slice each length partially through to create four to six 3/4" slices. See photo slider for example. Place on a baking sheet and pop into the oven for about 3 minutes, until bread is warm and just a little crunchy on the outside.
- Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil into each of four individual serving bowls. Stir 1/2 - 1 t of garlic powder into each bowl, depending on the level of garlic flavor you prefer. Stir gently to combine.
- Swirl each bowl gently to create a 1/2" rim of olive oil around the pool of olive oil. This gives you a surface area in the bowl for the salt to adhere to. Grab a pinch of salt and sprinkle it over the olive oil rim. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or other seasonings to each bowl if desired.
- When the bread is done remove it from the oven and place a length of bread in each serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
Cuisine New American