Admittedly, calorie-wise cheesy garlic bread is not the lightest recipe in the book, but sometimes we need some comfort food. This mouthwatering recipe is exactly that. Just what we need to keep warm in these remaning cold months. It can be eaten as a deliciously sinful snack or served as a side for meat dishes or salads. Next time you serve a soup, prepare a cheesy garlic bread to go with it. It is so easy to make that it’s almost feels like cheating. A simple dish that the whole family will enjoy, which requires only a few basic ingredients. You can even put your personal twist on it if you like.
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get the right bread
As this recipe only requires a few ingredients, the quality of the latter is more important than usual. There is nowhere for mediocre ingredients to hide in this recipe. Most importantly,use good high-quality bread. I prefer to use a loaf of Italian or French-style bread. You can also use a good quality baguette found in your local bakery.
You want bread that has a certain density and crunch. So, how do you test a good bread? By the sound of the crust when you give it a squeeze! You don’t want it to be one of those convenient junk that just taste of dry air. If you want to really sure you can bake your own bread, however a good one from the bakery will do just fine. If you prefer a different type of bread, like full grain for instance, then simply get a loaf of that.
benefits of garlic
The main flavour component to the cheesy garlic bread is obviously the garlic. Some people have a very strong aversion to garlic. Yes, it does make your breath smell. However, I believe the taste is simply too good to to give it a miss for that reason. So, unless you have a first date or an important job interview tomorrow – just go for it! Furthermore, the addition or parsley in the mixture actually helps counteract this slight, and only, downside of garlic.
On the plus side, garlic is supposed to have beneficial health effects. Among other things, garlic is said to help reduce the risk of colds and infections, but also more serious things such as heart diseases, dementia and even cancer. Some studies show that eating garlic on a regular basis will let you live longer. How far the truth actually goes in these cases, I dare not say. In any case, I am in love with the flavour and I welcome any health and nutritional benefits garlic might have. Therefore, I use it as much as I can in my cooking.
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the cheesy bit
For my version of cheesy garlic bread I have chosen to use mozzarella and parmesan cheese. I like the mozzarella in particular for this purpose, because it gets nice and stringy when melted. Let’s be honest, we all love that melted, stretchy cheese. The parmesan in this combination adds a beautiful nutty flavour note to the dish. When you fill up the pockets in the bread you shouldn’t skimp. Fill them up with abundance so that the cheese oozes out a bit when baking.
This is a part where you shouldn’t be too afraid to stray off the recipe. You can use pretty much any type of cheese that you like. In essence, the best types are the ones that melt easily. This could be a good mature cheddar, or it could be a gouda or the nutty emmental cheese. If you feel experimental, you can also try it with blue cheese. Cut a diamond pattern cut in the bread. Firstly, it looks good and secondly you can fit in even more cheese!
The best thing about the cheesy garlic bread is that there are simply tonnes of variations you can do with it. One of my favourite additions is to chop up some sun dried tomatoes and put these in the bread along with the cheese. You can also add other things that you would enjoy, such as cubes of bell pepper, or jalapeños if you like it spicy. You can also replace the parsley with another herb, e.g. rosemary, thyme or oregano – the choice is yours. Some dry spices such as chili or paprika in moderate measures also work well with garlic and melted cheese.
I have previously made something bit similar to the cheesy garlic bread, namely my pesto stuffed bread. A delicious recipe that’s extremely versatile, meaning you can use any pesto of your liking.
You can serve the cheesy garlic bread on its own as a snack – great for an afternoon with a game of football on the TV. However it is also a fantastic side for a whole number of dishes. Now during winter, I find cheesy garlic bread a great addition to a nice bowl of soup. For this purpose the cheesy garlic bread is more flavourful and more filling than just a normal slice of bread or a plain bun. It just makes a normal tomato of beef soup that bit better! For example, my sausage soup was amazing with my pesto stuffed bread. A tip if you are having guests over: you can make portion sized cheesy garlic breads using buns or bread rolls.
In any case this is not only a dish for the winter months. The cheesy garlic bread is also a fantastic side for any meat dish. Instead of the usual side of potatoes and rice, serve the meat with a side of salad and the cheesy garlic bread. I find it is particularly good for when you are having a barbecue. So it could work perfectly with my bbq smoked ribs or spicy smoked ribs. Remember this for when the warmer months come around again! I promise you, it will be a popular addition to your barbecue.
The cheesy garlic bread is most enjoyable when it’s warm and fresh, directly out of the oven. You shouldn’t keep it for the next day – it’s too good. That being said you can store it. The best thing to do is to let it cool off slightly and then freeze it. It will keep for a couple of months without problems. Defrost by heating it up in the oven. Don’t use the microwave.
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- 1 loaf Italian Baguette or French Bread
- 30ml (2 tbsp) butter
- 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 15ml (1 tbsp) dried parsley
- 100g (3 oz) mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 30g (1 oz) parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
- Using a serrated knife, make a cut into the bread until it almost reaches the bottom. Repeat the process, making 2.5cm (1in) “slices”. You can make diamond shapes too.
- Melt the butter gently in a small pan and stir in the oil, garlic and parsley.
- Slather the slices with as of the butter mixture as your your heart desires. Make more of the sauce if needed.
- Cram the slices with mozzarella and finish it off with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted.
- You can substitute the mozzarella and parmesan with your favourite cheese.
- Category: Side Dish
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 139
- Sodium: 172 mg
- Fat: 10.7 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 7.2 g
- Protein: 4.4 g
- Cholesterol: 16 mg
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A special thanks to Kelly Reeve for assisting with the recipe shoot.