Going through some files as I settle in to our new apartment, I came across a picture that stopped me in my tracks. It’s the main illustration for this page courtesy of Epicurious. Here were these crispy halves of great French bread topped with a coating of cheese and herbs I could almost taste. I knew at once that this was something I was going to make first chance I got. The recipe was part of Bon Appetit’s ‘fast, easy, fresh’ series that even spawned its own cookbook “Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh” (John Wiley and Sons 2008). The book had over 1100 recipes but Garlic Confit Toast didn’t make it. It was published in 2015. It was the work of Claire Saffitz which gave the recipe instant credibility as she has two of the most requested recipes on Chewing The Fat. (See link below the recipe to see what they are.) Now ‘fast, easy, fresh’ seems to have gone the way of BA’s former Editor, Barbara Fairchild. Famously, Ms. Fairchild refused to move to New York when the magazine did. Her replacement, Adam Rapaport has offered up “Basically” and “Healthy-ish” and ‘fast, easy, fresh’ is no more. It will live on in memory and in real life because Garlic Confit Toast will be on our menu much more than just once.
I could have made the toast and attached it to almost meal where you want a great piece of bread to serve along with pasta or a great salad. It would be perfect dipped in soup adding the crunch of garlic-y, cheese-y, buttery perfection. And the better the bread, the better you’ll like it. I’d recently seen a list of New York’s best baguettes. Frenchly.com, a website “for Francophiles in the US and abroad, covering news, arts, culture, style, and all things French.” Appropriate judges for a Best Baguette Contest. They managed to find 13 bakeries and, in a well-attended taste test declared the winner. For the second time, Maison Kayser picked up the Grand Prix and the Reader’s Prize for Best Baguette in New York, a city where that kind of thing never happens. No one ever wins anything twice. And what’s probably just as remarkable is that Eric Kayser only opened the first Maison Kayser in Paris, the mothership for baguettes, in 2006. In New York, where he opened the first Maison Kayser in 2012, he now has 17 outlets. And one of them is just 8 blocks north of us at Broadway and 76th St. The secret to the best baguette in New York—bread made on site every day using a technique Kayser himself developed. I am afraid every other baguette on earth will never live up to this one. Here is the recipe:
Garlic Confit Toast
And absolutely wonderful cheesy, garlicy toast that's perfect all by itself...with a glass of wine, perhaps.
- 1 head garlic
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 teaspoons chopped oregano
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 baguette sliced in half lengthwise, then crosswise
- Step 1 Cook cloves from 1 head garlic in 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter in a small covered saucepan over medium-low heat until golden brown and very soft, 15–20 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Let cool.
- Step 2 Add 1 cup grated Parmesan, 2 teaspoons chopped oregano, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to garlic and mash to a paste. Season with salt.
- Step 3 Heat broiler. Slice a baguette in half lengthwise, then crosswise. Broil, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet until golden brown, about 2 minutes (watch carefully). Let cool slightly, then spread cut side with garlic paste. Broil until cheese is golden and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Slice.
About those Claire Saffitz recipes…here they are…