Beach Bread Appetizer

Beach Bread
Peggy Trowbridge Filippone
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 6 to 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
87 Calories
7g Fat
3g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 87
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 19mg 6%
Sodium 128mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 3g
Calcium 67mg 5%
*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.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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 anti-caking 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.

Ingredients

  • 1 3-feet long French bread, cut into 3 pieces, then sliced in half
  • 4 tablespoons 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 fresh chives, chopped, or green onions
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper.

  3. 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.

  4. Bake about 10 to 15 minutes, until bread is crusty on the outside and the top is melted and just beginning to turn golden.

  5. 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.

  6. Enjoy!

Tip

  • 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.