September 28, 2010

The Bread That Nearly Stopped My Heart {Powernap}

Buttered Bread

What’s Going on Today: Having friends over for dinner, taking advantage of the great fall weather with a walk at the Audubon Park.

Tonight’s Menu: BBQ Chicken, Baked Pasta with Vegetables and Smoked Mozzarella, Salad, Roasted Asparagus, Heart-Stopping Bread, Pumpkin Bars

Naptime Goals: Bake Pasta Casserole, Pumpkin Bars, prepare the bread for the oven.

Parenting Lesson of the Day: It’s a little alarming at how quickly they take to the idea of partying!

When I came across this bread on The Pioneer Woman the other day it’s dark crispy crust caught my eye. I wanted to serve bread at an upcoming dinner party but the menu didn’t call for my usual garlic variety. Why not, I thought, give this decadent recipe a try. I’ve been upping my gym regimen lately what with all the book recipe testing, so it seemed to be as good a time as any to experiment with more butter than I ever thought possible for one loaf of bread.

While my daughter napped my husband and I prepared almost everything for our party. I baked the casserole and pumpkin bars, he put the chicken in to marinate and we retrieved our favorite serving dishes from the pantry. The last thing I did was take two sticks (yes, 1 cup) of unsalted butter out of the fridge to soften for the afternoon. Right before the guests arrived I slathered one stick of butter on each half of the ciabatta (has your heart stopped yet?), sprinkled on some Kosher salt (because, at this point, a little salt ain’t gonna hurt!), popped it in the oven and manned the broiler like a champ, just as Ree recommended. It crisped right up, turned the appropriate shade of near-charred black and set off the smoke alarm.

I am not sure if my heart stopped out of love or just from the sheer amount of butter. But it did stop, for just a teeny tiny second, while I enjoyed my first bite. Crispy, buttery (obviously) with a browned almost caramel-like flavor, in a brief 15 minutes the ciabatta had transformed from bread + butter to bread heaven. My guests agreed, though I declined to tell them the exactly amount of the ingredients used. I think I’ll only be making this on special occasions, unless I want my heart stop for real. Though, I will admit, there would be worse ways to go!

Recipe

Heart-Stopping Buttered Bread

adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

1 loaf Ciabatta or French Bread

2 sticks unsalted butter (yes!)

1 T. Kosher salt

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Slice bread in half lengthwise. Spread one stick of butter on each half on the bread. (Yes, one stick per half!) Sprinkle each half lightly with salt.

3. Bake bread butter side up for 10 minutes, enough time to let butter get absorbed and melted into the bread. Then, turn on the broiler. Broil for about 4-5 minutes or until the top is almost charred completely black. Don’t take it out too soon. Watch your smoke alarm!

4. Remove from oven, cut and serve.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

If, per chance, you do want garlic bread add some roasted garlic to the butter before you spread it on the bread. Or, sprinkle top with a little Parmesan cheese before broiling.

Naptime Stopwatch

2 minutes flat, plus baking time.

Naptime Reviews

This was a hit all around. We even had a few sticks leftover and dipped them in marinara sauce the next day!