|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 12|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 8g||10%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||22%|
|Total Carbohydrate 18g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 3mg||13%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
This is not your everyday garlic bread. In fact, you may never have heard of it unless you're a Florida native or have had the luck to indulge in a slice while waiting for your meal in a restaurant in the Fort Myers area. Although the versions of beach bread are endless and they depend on the tastes of hundreds of chefs, beach bread started out as a garlic bread topped with cheese. It has transformed into very elaborate and gourmet preparations that feature varied cheeses, from common to fancy, many types of sauces to top or dip the bread, and hundreds of toppings, from grilled vegetables to herbs, nuts, or cured meats. Anything and everything is fair in the beach bread game. Our version brings to your kitchen an easy and delicious version featuring Blue or Gorgonzola cheese, fresh tomatoes and herbs. Serve as an appetizer or think of it as an easy open-faced sandwich, perhaps a "pizza" on a baguette. Either way, it can be your new favorite quick meal.
For our recipe, you need a 3-feet long baguette or similar bread. If you can't find bread that long, simply buy two medium ones and remove the tips. Ultimately, you'll cut the bread into three 1-foot pieces that you'll be slicing open horizontally. We recommend using Blue cheese as its bold flavor has no equal, but if you're not a fan of the smelly deliciousness of a tangy piece of Bleu fromage, go for a milder Italian Gorgonzola, which is less strong and softer in texture. The main difference in the cheeses is that Gorgonzola is usually made exclusively from cow's milk, while Blue can be made from goat's, cow's, or sheep's milk and is a lot tangier, harder, and overall stronger in flavor and smell. But if strong cheeses aren't your thing, don't miss out on this recipe, simply use a cheese such as Stilton or feta that will still provide tang and flavor without overwhelming your palate. Mozzarella complements the cheese topping. If possible, buy it in its block form to shred it at home, as already shredded cheese is packed with anticaking agents that make it impossible for it to melt appropriately.
Chives and parsley top the bread and add a vibrant touch of color. After you've made this once, you can experiment with your own cheesy mixtures and sauces and make your own beach bread extravaganza. Much like a taco bar, you can offer each guest the ingredients and allow them to build their own before popping them in the oven. For easy construction, serve crumbled and shredded cheese, chopped vegetables and herbs, cold cuts, and dipping sauces such as jarred puttanesca sauce for a spicy take or Alfredo for a creamy preparation. You definitely don't need to be at the beach to enjoy a slice of this beautiful bread anytime.
1 (3-feet long) French bread, cut into 3 pieces, then sliced in half
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
Onion powder, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, or Gorgonzola cheese
1 cup fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, or green onions
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper.
Brush cut sides of French bread with melted butter. Sprinkle lightly with onion powder and garlic powder. Top with blue cheese or Gorgonzola cheese, tomatoes, chives or green onions, mozzarella, and parsley.
Bake about 10 to 15 minutes, until bread is crusty on the outside and the top is melted and just beginning to turn golden.
Serve as is for an appetizer or serve it as an accompaniment for a classic spaghetti dinner or any other pasta dish like linguine with clam sauce.
- Italian bread or any other crusty white bread may be substituted for the French bread. The amounts are approximate, so feel free to simply follow the method you use with your favorite bread when making garlic bread.