Black Garlic Porcupine Bread

1 head black garlic*, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 sourdough boule
3 sprigs worth of thyme leaves
1/3 cup coarsely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise, leaving about 1/4 inch thick crust at the bottom, creating 1/2 inch cubes. Meanwhile, melt the butter, oil, garlic, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Place the bread on enough to foil to wrap the entire loaf. Drizzle the bread with the oil then sprinkle with cheese, taking care that the majority of the mixture and cheese seeps into the cracks of the bread. Sprinkle with thyme. Wrap with foil and bake, on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. Unwrap and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

*Look for it at Whole Foods and other well-stocked supermarkets or substitute regular garlic. Black garlic is sticky fermented garlic.

My thoughts:

This is a type of bread I remember seeing at parties back in the ’90s (along with dip in a bread bowl–the ’90s were lousy with sourdough boules it seems) and it seemed like time to bring it back. I’ve heard it called “pull apart” bread but porcupine bread is so much cuter sounding. If you were crafty, I bet you could even make it look like a porcupine by cutting out ears and using olives for eyes or something. It is fun for a party but it also a great alternative to regular garlic bread at a good, old-fashioned, Italian-American meal.

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