You know how you read everywhere to never, ever put anything in your ear? Well, have you ever had an ear infection as an adult? It makes that rule really, really tempting to break, especially when your ear is all plugged up, even after antibiotics, steroids, yawning, plugging your nose and blowing, and jumping up and down with your ear pointed up to the ceiling. Last week, I started reading online for ideas to help pop my ear and lots of people were recommending heating a pressed fresh clove of garlic in some extra virgin olive oil. So I tried it. It might have helped a little, but mostly, I just wanted to lick myself because I smelled like an Italian restaurant. I ended up using the rest of the garlic olive oil for dipping some Ciabatta bread, which didn’t help my ear, but it did make me think of different ways I could use garlic olive oil that didn’t involve my orifices.
I’m going to include lots of variations with this recipe, but for pictures, I’m using pesto because that is what I was craving at the time. Oh, and because my garden has not failed, despite my very best efforts, and I had a whole bunch of basil I needed to use up.
Spread the pesto in between the cracks. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you can even just spread it on one direction of cuts (as opposed to doing it on all four sides of each little piece) because it will soak in.
Then gently stuff the cheese into the cracks. Brush a little pesto on top and sprinkle with a little additional cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the top of the bread is crispy. The top of the bread should fan out, kind of like an Awesome Blossom (extra awesome). Allow to stand for about 5 minutes and then serve. With a fork, some wet wipes, and a little bit of guilt.
Cheesy Garlic-Herb Bread
Recipe by Our Best Bites
1 loaf (16-24-oz.) crusty bread (we recommend sourdough)
8 oz. mozzarella*
1 of the following toppings:
–1/2 c. pesto
–1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil mixed with 3-4 cloves pressed garlic (allow to stand for at least an hour before brushing onto the bread)
–1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil mixed with 3-4 cloves pressed garlic and 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
–1/2 c. butter mixed with 3 tablespoons Garlic Bread Seasoning
–1/2 c. butter mixed with 2 cloves pressed garlic, 1 tablespoon each fresh, chopped basil, rosemary, and parsley
*If you want to lighten things up a little, you can leave out the cheese and sprinkle to top of the bread with kosher salt and a little freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Slice bread into 1 1/2″ slices, not cutting through to the bottom. Rotate the loaf 90 degrees and slice the bread again every 1 1/2″ so you have 1 1/2″ pieces that are still attached to the bottom of the bread.
Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet. Gently spread the desired filling into the cracks. Gently stuff the cheese into the cracks (you can just put the cheese going in one direction rather than on all four sides of each piece). Brush a little of the remaining filling on top of the loaf and sprinkle with a little remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the bread is toasted on top and the cheese is melted. Allow to stand a few minutes before serving.