Yes, we are officially on a Smitten Kitchen kick. I knew I had to make this garlic bread recipe when I saw it. It was actually easy, and good for a crowd (though is ranked second in my mind to John’s ATK garlic bread). I tested this with both Italian and sourdough bread. I prefer the latter, but it works fine with the former (I couldn’t find a large enough sourdough loaf to bring to a party). I might nix the pecorino next time in favor of mozzarella (or use very finely grated parmesan), as it didn’t melt as much as I wanted it to (the fontina worked great).
1 round (about 1 pound) loaf firm sourdough bread (or Italian if you can’t find it)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon coarse or flaky salt
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
Pinch or two of red pepper flakes or freshly ground black pepper to taste (I forgot to add this, and it was fine)
1 cup finely grated cheese (recipe recommends 2/3 pecorino or asiago and 1/3 fontina; next time, I’ll use less of the former)
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh herbs (I used 1/2 each rosemary and oregano)
1 tablespoon extra fresh herbs (such as chives or parsley; I used both)
Heat oven to 350.
Being careful not to cut through the bottom, cut bread loaf into 1-inch slices in one direction, then perpendicular, forming porcupine-like bread fingers.
Transfer to baking sheet or roasting pan. In a small saucepan or your microwave (I used the microwave), combine butter, salt and garlic until butter is melted and sizzling. Pour over bread, making sure to separate any fingers leaning on each other to ensure the bread is evenly butter-soaked (this is important, as I got a little lazy here and some pieces were tastier than others as a result). Scatter with grated cheese, again making sure to get cheese all the way to the bottom crust. Sprinkle with rosemary and oregano.
Cover dish with foil and bake loaf for 15 minutes, until warmed through. Remove foil and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until edges of loaf are toasty and cheese has melted (mine took closer to 25 minutes here). Scatter with parsley/chives.