Friday, July 24, 2009

Steven Raichlen's Grilled Garlic Parsley Cheese Bread

OK, as promised, today i am going to start posting my experiences cooking each and every recipe in Steven Raichlen's HOW TO GRILL book. I am only a few recipes into the project, but I could not possibly recommend this book highly enough. The recipes are clear and the instructions could not be easier to follow. There will be many more challenging days to come, but I will start with the very first item I had ready on my table during party #3 (already blogged about here).Grilled Garlic Parsley Cheese Bread
The recipe is on page 420
basic introductory instructions with several photos starting on page 418.

I do not want to step on any one's toes, and do not want to publish someone's recipe without permission. If you are interested, contact your local library and they will have this book, or better yet, add it to your library and buy the book if you want the details.

I do want to post some details about the recipe that I either liked, chose to do differently from Steven's and what I learned.

Again, this is incredibly easy, with only a few ingredients. I am going to be lose a few of the expert cooker blog readers when I admit that this was my first experience buying quality herbs and greens instead of using the dry McCormick brand type seasonings. Not just for the bread, but the rest of the meal called for fresh Thyme, Basil, Bay Leaves and Sage (as well as the Parsley in this item). My kitchen never smelled so fresh and clean as when I was preparing these herbs. I am making a commitment to quality ingredients for this experiment. At least in the smell of the kitchen, the fresh parsley made a huge difference. The great smell sure made me feel like I was creating something special.

The only procedure I changed was in the cooking process. Steven's instructions calls for the butter/garlic/herb spread (goop) to go on both sides of the bread. I took a small license with the procedure and followed a method that works best for me. I pre heated the grill on high, and got the grill very hot. Just prior to putting the bread on the grill, I turn the fire as low as possible. I then take a can of spray Canola oil and spray the each side of the bread. I put the bread on and watch carefully as they brown. It only takes 2 or 3 minutes for the bread to toast. The hot grill will leave those beautiful grill lines on each side. Once the bread gets to your liking crispness wise, I turn off the burners on the grill. With the fire off, I have time to flip all of the bread, and then I apply the butter goop. Once everything is well coated, I relight the gas and cook the bottoms to match the tops. The butter goop melts nicely into the toast and is ready to be served in just another couple of minutes.
By saving more of the goop for just the one side, I believe that the bread has much more taste. If you cook the goop on the bottom side also (as Steven instructs), a lot of the butter will melt off into the flame, causing flair up and increasing the risk of burning the toast. This was the only thing I changed, not saying his way is not efficient, and will not give good results... Just saying I thought about it, tried a test piece and was happier with my results.

I had these ready in a basket as my guests arrived. I put them in a basket with a warming stone in the bottom, wrapped them in a towel, and they were warm to serve as the antipasto was ready to be served (will talk about them tomorrow).

Here's my bottom line questions for any recipe I try. Would I make it again? If yes, would I imagine changes to make it better?

Easy answer. With the changes in method that I discussed earlier, I would certainly make these again and again. I plan to make these often. I can not imagine a way to make these taste better.

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