Thursday, October 07, 2004


This one is for the garlic fans. What we’ve got here is basically a pesto baked on some bread, but you’ll notice the pesto contains 10 cloves of garlic. Even I quail slightly at this. You will wake up with garlic breath the next morning, but this stuff is worth it, glowingly green, zesty, and all nice and toasty-crusty on the bread. I have no idea where I got this recipe; I’ve had it for years. I don’t make it regularly (it’s a bit labor-intensive for a side dish; generally if I want to make garlic bread I just toast the bread in the oven and then rub a garlic clove over it) but last night I hit upon the bright idea of making it as a companion to the shockingly orange Creamy Carrot-Potato Soup. Although I had to use two blenders to make this happen, they went extremely well together, the spicy freshness of the pesto with the sweet, mellow, earthier soup. I very much recommend the pairing.

Note: I don’t know that I’ve really ever used a full loaf of bread for this recipe; maybe I spread the pesto too thick or something. Last night I used half a French baguette—but the baguette was about five inches wide, so there was a lot of surface area on which to spread stuff. Just eyeball it.

Also, if you use less garlic, no one will judge you. I've gotten away with as few as five cloves without sacrificing any deliciousness.

10 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1-pound loaf of Italian bread or French baguette

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dump all the ingredients (except the bread, of course) into the blender (or you can use a food processor, of course, if you’re fancy enough to have one). Puree this until it's fairly smooth.

2. Cut the bread loaf in half horizontally, i.e., from end to end (generally I cut it in half, or even in fourths, crosswise first to make this easier). Set the bread pieces, crust side down, cut sides up, on a large baking sheet and spread the cut sides with the pesto.

3. Bake until the pesto is crusty and just beginning to brown, 10-12 minutes. Cut the bread into thick slices and serve it warm.

Serves: 4-6
Time: 20 minutes

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