Want something a bit prettier and even tastier than regular garlic toast? This is excellent for special occasions, but once you’ve tried it you may never want to go back to having plain garlic toast again! Yet, it is just as easy to make!
Excellent served with spaghetti or other Italian dishes, soups, stews, goulash, or served as an appetizer with some cream cheese and marinara or other toppings, or used for dipping.
If you don’t wish to heat up the house it can also be made in a toaster oven –just don’t try making it your typical pop-up toaster — or on the grill.
Tam’s Cheesy Herb Garlic Toast
2 large loaves of French or Italian bakery bread or homemade Ciabatta bread
Garlic powder in a shaker spice container
Fresh finely chopped (may substitute dried) oregano
Fresh finely chopped (may substitute dried) basil
Romano or Parmesan cheese, finely grated (may substitute purchased granulated powder in shaker dispenser)
optional: a decorative dusting of paprika or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Cover center oven rack with heavy duty aluminum foil.
If two sheets are required, place the two sheets together and fold over on one side then fold the fold in half and press/pinch the seam then open up on the non-crimped side to create one large sheet.
This will prevent bread crumbs and potential for cheese melting into the bottom of the oven.
The thinner foil also helps create a crispier bottom crust with less chance of leaving a blackened crust than if baking on a pan.
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
Slice two large French or Italian bread loaves each in half and place slices cut side up and crust side down on a clean cutting board or other work surface.
To make clean up easier cover work surface with paper towels, waxed paper, aluminum foil, or a lint free linen cup towel.
Brush tops of bread slices lightly and evenly to within 1/16 inch from the outer edges with olive oil. Leaving that tiny outer edge un-coated creates a beautiful toasted edge as well as lets you see clearly when the bread is fully toasted to perfection.
If you do not have pastry brush you can dip finger tips in olive oil and very gently pat and rub to spread the oil without applying any pressure but expect more crumbs — or, use a fine mist setting on an oil or other appropriate spritzer bottle.
Do not try to recycle a bottle that previously held household cleaning solutions! You can purchase empty spritzer bottles very cheaply, then wash and label for use as an oil spritzer. They will usually will not hold up as long as an actual oil spritzer, but they will typically last long enough to get your money’s worth.
Sprinkle tops of bread slices evenly with a spice shaker bottle of garlic powder.
Crush dried oregano pinching between fingers while sprinkling over bread or sprinkle bread with pinches of fresh finely chopped oregano.
Crush dried basil pinching between fingers while sprinkling over bread or sprinkle bread with pinches of fresh finely chopped basil leaves.
Top with cheese.
Sprinkle over the top of the cheese lightly with additional basil and oregano.
If desired, for additional color or heat, lightly sprinkle with a light dusting of paprika or pinches of crushed red pepper flakes.
Place on foil covered center rack of oven cut side up.
Bake at 350 F degrees for 4 to 5 minutes.
Increase oven temperature to 475 F to 500 F degrees. Leave oven door slightly ajar or opened just a few inches.
The bread can burn easily and very quickly or suddenly at this point. Watch very closely and do no leave unattended until toasted/singed a beautiful golden brown around the outer edges.
Open oven door, slide rack out, turn off oven, and quickly remove bread.
When oven has cooled, fold the outer edges of the foil inward to contain loose crumbs when removing.
For homemade cheesy garlic bread sticks or ciabatta bread:
Easy But Still Authentic Ciabatta (Italian Slipper) Bread Loaves
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