Everybody loves warm bread when it arrives at the table, and when it has the scent of garlic wafting from it, you know it has the Italian touch. The goal in making a good garlic bread is to rub the bread with the crushed garlic clove, not to load it with chopped garlic, remember just the essence is enough to gratify your senses.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 12- inch loaf Italian bread without seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher salt, for seasoning
Combine the olive oil and garlic in a small bowl, and steep about 30 minutes, to let the flavors mingle.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Split the bread in half lengthwise, then cut in half crosswise, to make four pieces. Set the pieces, cut side up, on a baking sheet, and brush the bread with the flavored oil, rubbing with the garlic cloves and leaving them on top. Sprinkle with the dried oregano.
Bake until the bread is golden and crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove any large garlic pieces, and lightly season the bread with salt before serving.
Variation: Garlic Bread topped with Cheese (Pane Strofinato con Formaggio): Substitute 1⁄₄ cup grated Grana Padano for the oregano.
Variation: Garlic Bread rubbed with Tomatoes (Pane Strofinato con Pomodoro): Cut some ripe tomatoes crosswise in half. While the baked bread is still hot, rub cut surfaces of the bread with the tomato halves, until the bread has absorbed the tomato juices and the tomato pulp has rubbed onto the bread. Season lightly with salt, drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil on top, and serve immediately.