Elizabeth Luard's Perfect Garlic Bread


  • 175g unsalted, softened Normandy butter
  • 4 young garlic cloves
  • 1 level tsp coarse salt


  1. Use a large baguette, about 45cm, (the only type of loaf with the right shape and texture, and with a nicely crispable crust). It must be at least a day old. Peel the garlic, chop roughly, then crush in a pestle and mortar (or the blunt end of rolling-pin) with the salt until mushy. Work in the butter until thoroughly blended (very important). If you like, add parsley - the flat variety - chopped very finely. You could also experiment with coriander, thyme, chives, spring onions, lemon zest, basil, smoked paprika or chopped chilli. Form the butter into a cylinder, wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge to firm.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4. Make slanting incisions in the baguette, at intervals of three fingers-width, without severing the slices from the base. Slice the butter and stuff into the incisions. You could also slip in slices of Mozzarella, grated Gruyère, or slivers of sun-blush tomato. Wrap the baguette in foil, shiny-side inwards, pleating the top so none of the fragrance escapes. (You may need to bake the baguette in two pieces, depending on the size of your oven.) Bake for 20 minutes, until the butter has completely melted into the crumb. Open the package just enough to expose the upper crust, and return to the oven for 10 minutes to crisp. Serve, Sixties-style, in a basket lined with a white napkin. Think ahead - make another and freeze it for later.
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes 40 minutes

Serves: 4

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This recipe was first published in Wed May 01 01:00:00 BST 2002.