frustrating directions re garlic...
I often see this direction in recipes: "rub the toast (or bread or whatever) with a cut clove of garlic.."
And I always think "HUH???" If I rub the bread or toast with the garlic:
a) it takes forever (itty bitty garlic and big slice of bread)
b) it's easy to poke the garlic through the bread
c) who can even taste the garlic with this method? I feel that I might as well just wave the garlic over the toast and the taste (or lack thereof) would be the same....
Anyone want to educate me?
I love preparing bread this way; rubbing the grilled bread with garlic. Yes. It takes time. Much rustic food does. If you are going through the bread with your garlic, then I would guess you aren't using the right kind of bread. You want to be using a slow-risen bread with some texture. And if you can't taste the garlic, then perhaps the garlic is too old or you aren't using enough?
This is a centuries old way of using day-old bread.
So, to start... I slice the bread into 1 inch slices, usually on the bias to maximize the surface area. In the winter, I use a grill pan; summer the grill. Get the pan very hot, and then grill the bread on both sides. While the bread is still too hot to touch, rub the garlic on one side. I find that three slices of bread need 1 normal sized clove of garlic. Then drizzle some high-quality olive oil over the bread, and serve.
You can top these grilled bread pieces or serve them as is.
First, you need a substantial type of bread, toasted. A good French, Italian or other artisinal bread. You'll find that a big clove of garlic, cut in half at the thickest part, will provide a substantial garlic kick when rubbed on a toasted slice of any good bread. I've actually overdone it for some people (not garlic-loving me). It's pretty quick, too.
Take a large fork and attach a clove with about 1/3 cut off to each tine-you can fit 2-4 cloves depending on the size of the fork and the cloves-covers more surface area and its much easier to hold the garlic. I do this to rub chicken before roasting. I also use elephant garlic for bruschetta as it is milder than regular garlic.
If you were doing this for a crowd I can understand what it might be considerd PITA. But for 2-4 people it's a cinch. But as others have said, the bread has to be sturdy and well toasted by whatever method you choose. Ditto on the big clove of garlic, but I cut the root root end off of mine so I have a whole pointed clove to hang on to. And don't forget the drizzle of olive oil afterwards and a nice sprinkle of Kosher salt.
Never had a problem doing this. At it's most simplest, it's a required step for the Mallorcan classic of pa amb oli. Lovely - and as has been said, you do get the fragrance of the garlic without it being overpowering.