A few days ago I posted a quick, weeknight worthy recipe for a simple Pasta Puttanesca. It is essentially foolproof, is made with all things from your pantry, and if you make it with whole wheat pasta, is actually quite healthy. Like the main dish, the garlic toast that accompanied it was easy and fuss free. My secret?
An earth shattering revelation, I know. You see, my freezer and I have a special, mutually beneficial relationship. I keep it organized (usually) and clean, and in turn, it provides me with quick meals and the occasional pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie. When I am pressed for time or simply lack the energy and drive to make dinner, pulling something out of the freezer that requires little or no action is the best feeling in the world. Am I right? It is like winning the lottery. Its 5:30 pm on a Tuesday and you are digging through bags of frozen edamame and blocks of ground beef when suddenly you find a quart container of Chicken & Barley Soup, ready to be microwaved. I can’t be the only person out there who would hold it up in victory and shout Eureka!! And it is equally gratifying if you are pulling out dinner for one or two people at eight o’clock at night after a long day of work, or if you are a stay at home mom without the time to whip something up between laundry, grocery shopping, homework checks, piano lessons, PTO meetings, and ballet rehearsal. It is for these exact moments in life that I keep certain items in my freezer.
In this case, it is pre-sliced french bread. Every once in awhile, I rifle through the day old section of baked goods in the bakery of my local supermarket. When I find the big loaves of thinly sliced french bread for 1.99, I buy two! I bring them home and toss them right in the freezer. They aren’t perfectly wrapped to store long term, but it is enough to let them slowly dry out over the next few weeks. Then, when I need a quick dinner, I have stale, frozen bread that I can use to make french toast, panini, bread crumbs, bread pudding, croutons, and in this case, garlic toast. The smaller, chewier baguettes are better for crostini or bruschetta and can be a bit tough for just toast. So for this, you want the softer, country type loaves that aren’t so crusty on the outside. Perfect to slather with garlic butter.
thinly sliced french bread, preferably slightly stale
1/2 stick (4 T) of soft, salted butter
1 large garlic clove, minced finely
Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the butter and garlic in a small bowl and set aside. Arrange your bread in a single layer on a dry sheet pan and oh so very thinly spread with garlic butter. You want this toast to get crunchy and crispy, so be sure to spread the butter to the very edges and use it sparingly. Just a VERY thin layer. Be sure the bread is butter side up on the pan and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Check the toast. If it is firm and overall golden brown, then it is done. If not, rotate the pan 180 degrees and let it go for a few more minutes. Watch it closely! Toast can go from nothing to burnt in a short amount of time. Essentially, toast until your preference and enjoy! This is fantastic served with chili too! Leftover garlic butter can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge to be used for more garlic toast but is also good spread on the outside of panini, stirred into mashed potatoes, rubbed on chicken before roasting, or anything else you can think of!