Garlic Bread ala Mansfield
You just can't mess this one up!
When I lived on Mansfield Street in New Haven in my post grad-school days, I remember one of my housemates making a really delicious garlic bread. She said the secret, passed on from her mother-in-law, was to mix pressed garlic in with softened butter. I’ve used that technique ever since — with a few adaptations, of course.
Total time: about 20 minutes
Wife’s rating: Who doesn’t like garlic bread?!
1/4 loaf Italian bread (for us that’s about 5 pieces, each 1/2” -- 1”, but you do you).
Note: Italian bread is ideal, whole wheat if you can find it. We’ve also used baguettes and even sourdough (unsliced). You just want to avoid a very dense bread.
4 Tbsp Butter. You’re aiming for enough to butter both halves generously, v-e-r-y generously! (I can hear Julia Childs — “Butter! Butter! Butter!” — as I write that!)
Note: Be sure to let your butter sit out to soften. This bears repeating. (Or use soft-spread butter or margarine).
4 - 6 cloves garlic (You could use less, but hey, it’s garlic bread!)
1 Tbsp grated cheese
1 tsp chili powder (or paprika)
1 tsp dried oregano (or basil)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Measuring spoons, optional
Mixing bowl and spoon
Slicing and Dicing
Prepare your garlic - Running the cloves through a garlic press seems to get the most flavorful result. Alternatively you could mince or grate them.
Slice your loaf lengthwise, not quite all the way through, so you have a hinged loaf.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. If you are already cooking something in the oven, cook the bread at that temperature also.
Put the softened butter in a mixing bowl. Add the prepared garlic to the butter and blend it in with a butter knife. Voila - garlic butter!
Place the loaf on a sheet of aluminum foil. This should be large enough to encase the loaf for baking. The foil also serves to catch the splash from the seasonings.
Spread the garlic butter (remember, generously) inside both halves of the loaf.
Sprinkle both halves with your spices and then the grated cheese.
Fold the two halves together and wrap in the foil.
Place into oven for 10-15 minutes. Adjust the cooking time of the bread if the oven temperature is other than 400 degrees. Unwrap the bread for a last few minutes if you like a crustier outer shell.
Remove from the oven when you’re ready to serve. It will be hot, so give it a minute to rest then unwrap the bread. Slice crossways into desired serving size.