There are two proper ways to use garlic: pounding and blooming. Pound raw garlic into a paste that dissolves into food, leaving behind only a faint rumor of its presence. To cook garlic, sizzle but don't brown it before adding it to food—this is blooming, and it will tame garlic's raw fire. Put both techniques into practice to make this unforgettable loaf of garlic bread. First, make a garlic butter rich with herbs and Parmesan. Then, score the loaf into thick slices and slather each with butter. Wrap and bake, then pull the steaming, mahogany-crusted bread from the oven and stuff each slot with herb salad. The fragrant loaf will barely have a chance to cool before everyone at the table begins to tear into and devour it. —Samin Nosrat
Test Kitchen Notes
Recipe excerpted with permission from The Essential New York Times Cookbook: The Recipes of Record by Amanda Hesser, published by W. W. Norton & Company; 10th Anniversary edition. © 2021. —The Editors
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 25 minutes
- makes One 1-pound loaf
large garlic cloves
unsalted butter, at room temperature
chopped parsley, plus ½ cup parsley leaves
chopped chives, plus ½ cup chives cut into 1-inch pieces
chopped basil, plus 20 basil leaves
(heaping) finely grated Parmesan (about ¾ ounce)
Freshly ground black pepper
(1-pound) loaf rustic country bread
Extra-virgin olive oil
- Arrange a rack in the center of your oven and heat to 400°F.
- Bloom half the garlic: Thinly slice 7 of the cloves. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring and swirling constantly, 7 to 8 minutes, or until the garlic is aromatic and tender. Do not allow it to take on any color. (If you sense it starting to brown, remove the pan from the heat and add a few drops of water.) Pour the garlic and butter into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Very roughly chop the remaining garlic, then place in the bowl of a mortar. Add a generous pinch of salt and pound to a very fine paste.
- Place the cooled garlic butter in the bowl of a food processor along with the garlic paste, chopped parsley, chopped chives, and chopped basil. Pulse until everything is very finely chopped, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Add the remaining butter, the Parmesan, and black pepper. Pulse to combine, again stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Taste and add salt as needed.
- Deeply score the loaf of bread in 1-inch slices, but don’t cut all the way through. Use an offset spatula or butter knife to generously spread garlic butter on one side of each slice, as far down as you can reach.
- Wrap the bread in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake on the center rack for 10 minutes, rotate the loaf 180 degrees, and bake 10 minutes more. Unwrap the loaf, return it to the baking sheet, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the parsley leaves and chive pieces. Tear the basil leaves into the bowl in 1-inch pieces. Add a pinch of salt and dress lightly with a few drops of olive oil. Stuff the herb salad into the bread crevices and serve the loaf immediately.