Monday, August 20, 2007

New Wave Garlic Bread

(photo from
Who doesn't like garlic bread, I ask you? Back in the days when we didn't know any better, I served garlic bread with some frequency. I really, REALLY like garlic. And butter too. Put those two together with French bread? Ah. . . But then the butter police arrived on the scene. Then the carbohydrate police joined the parade. So this doesn't get fixed except when we're having hungry guests. Usually family and grandchildren.

This isn't ordinary garlic bread, though. I don't seem to go for anything traditional anymore. I crave the unusual, different ingredients, or something that allows an item to stand out from the crowd. That's this bread. If your family doesn't like a bit of heat (chile type heat) this may not be the right fit for you. I don't mean it's the grab-the-beer or water brigade exactly, but this has some definite bite to it. You can certainly tame it down a bit to try it anyway. It calls for Sichuan pepper. Be very cautious about how much you add - it's very hot. Also, the spicy hot chili sauce has heat as well. Everybody has a different heat decibel tolerance, so add some of the heat, then taste it with a bite of bread before you spread it on the entire loaf.

This is Hugh Carpenter's recipe from one of the cookbooks I own of his. I first served it at a party to celebrate our son's graduation from UCI (University of California, Irvine) at our home in 1990. With a band of hungry young men, I didn't have anywhere near enough, but it went well with the Asian-inspired dinner (all Hugh Carpenter's recipes) I served that night. It was a weeknight, and I was still working full time then. I don't know how I did it - we had just had our kitchen remodeled (this was our previous home), and this was the first meal I cooked in the new kitchen. I must been a whirling dervish.
I suppose this bread would be ideally suited for a meal with some Asian flavors, but it goes just fine with nearly any kind of meal where you'd serve garlic bread. So, give it a go.

New Wave Garlic Bread
Recipe: Hugh Carpenter
Servings: 8
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon Sichuan pepper
8 cloves garlic -- finely minced
1 bunch chives -- minced
1/3 cup cilantro -- minced
1 whole French bread loaf
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese -- grated
1. In a small saucepan, heat butter, chili sauce, Sichuan pepper and garlic. When it has begun to bubble around the edges and the butter is melted completely, remove from the heat and stir in the chives and cilantro.
2. Split the bread loaf in half lengthwise. Brush on a thin layer of the butter sauce. Add a generous amount of cheese to the half. Shake the bread a little to even distribute the cheese. Repeat with second half.
3. Heat oven to broil and toast until golden brown. WATCH CAREFULLY so it won't burn. Cut into slices and serve.
NOTES : If you don't want to use the Sichuan pepper, or you don't have it, that's fine. But the bread needs the Chinese chili sauce. It's available in most grocery stores - a clear plastic bottle, white printing, with a rooster on it. That's the best brand. I think the butter will make more than enough for two loaves of bread, but that depends on how thick you want the butter!
Per Serving: 288 Calories; 15g Fat (46.1% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 31g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 35mg Cholesterol; 443mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 2 1/2 Fat.
To view a printable recipe, click on title at top.

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