My first encounter with garlic bread was in an Italian restaurant. My pasta was good but the garlic bread was more memorable. It wasn’t something that was prepared by the adults at home, so, as a child, I only got to enjoy them when we ate out.
Fast forward to a decade or so later. I was watching my aunt make garlic toast and I paid attention to everything that she did. Garlic powder stirred in softened butter. Spread the garlic butter on both sides of the bread. Pop into the oven.
The garlic toast was okay but not nearly as good as the garlic bread in the Italian restaurant. In time, I learned to make garlic toast my way. Instead of garlic powder, I opted for grated fresh garlic. I also added salt and pepper.
That was my formula for garlic toast for decades. Then, I realized that by adding chopped fresh herbs to the softened butter, garlic, salt and pepper mixture, the spread was transformed. So was the bread that I slathered it on.
Theoretically, an herb can be used here. But I am partial to the combination of sweet basil and parsley. Pairing these herbs with garlic and softened butter, well… it reminds me of pesto but richer — far richer because there’s butter instead of olive oil.
The herbs are chopped finely, the garlic is peeled and finely grated and these two are stirred into softened (not melted!) butter with a little salt and pepper.
The mixture is spread on sliced bread and the bread goes into the oven or oven toaster. Are both sides of the bread spread with the garlic herb butter? No — on one side only so that nothing drips into the oven tray during toasting.
Garlic and herb toast
- ½ cup butter - softened
- 8 to 10 sweet basil leaves - finely chopped
- 1 to 2 sprigs parsley - leaves only, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic - finely grated
- 1 generous pinch salt
- 1 generous pinch white pepper
- sliced baguette - or your bread of choice
- Stir together the softened butter, chopped basil and parsley, grated garlic, salt and pepper.
- Spread the mixture generously on the bread slices.
- Broil (or toast, if using an oven toaster) for about three minutes until the bread is crisp and browned around the edges.
- Serve at once.