Monday, February 10, 2014

Carbone's Garlic Bread

After all the wide-ranging cuisines that the missus and I like to try (and I sometimes attempt with mediocre effect at home), Hackknife Jr. and Hackknifette still prefer basic buttered noodles with cheese over almost anything else. Needless to say, then, we consume a lot of garlic bread here at the Canteen with our preferred frozen varieties being Cole's Texas toast slices or Pepperidge Farm's traditional garlic bread. Every now and again when we tire of prefab, I get the hankering to create a garlic bread of my own from scratch or try someone else's recipe (like Tyler Florence, for example), but haven't really come up with a version that sings on the taste buds. The latest garlic bread recipe that caught my attention comes from the January/February 2014 issue of Saveur, which includes the writers' annual list of 100 noteworthy food-related items from the past year. Number 55 on this list is Carbone's Garlic Bread, Carbone being a newer restaurant in New York City that serves immaculately-executed renditions of traditional Italian-American standbys (such as linguine with clams and Veal Parmesan) that can be found in practically every town across this great land from Bakersfield to Boston. What struck me was the simplicity of the recipe - you just spread a mixture of butter, olive oil, red chile flakes, oregano (the dried, bottled kind), mashed garlic, salt, and pepper onto a halved baguette, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, roast under the oven broiler for a few minutes, and top with chopped chives/parsley. What could be easier? Well, before trying this at home, I opted to omit both the chile flakes and the chives/parsley (as the progeny abhor anything green or spicy in their food) and took the healthy route by substituting Smart Balance for the real butter. Had I included the original ingredients and not burned the edges of the baguette (I'm pretty much a novice at using my oven's broiler setting and must have had it turned up too high), I'm sure the finished garlic bread would have been a lot more palatable; still, after trimming off the blackened parts, the remaining blandified slabs of seasoned croutons held the promise of something greater (I was sure it was going to be a flop, yet Mrs. Hackknife expressed interest in having it again sometime). On the next go-round, I'll be sure to follow the recipe to the letter and watch the broiler like a hawk, even if it means my kids will have to settle for the usual Pepperidge Farm on the side...

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