I doubt that there is another recipe, from any source or any country that is so mis-understood and abused as garlic bread. Horrific mass-produced versions are available at tin-pot "Italian" restaurants the world over, and we saps eat this crap up like there is no tomorrow. Lemme guess - the last time you got garlic bread at this sort of joint; did it came wrapped in foil? Was it dripping with some pseudo-garlicky butter sort of substance? Shit man, someone should slap the chef - cause there 'aint no easier dish to make than garlic bread.
So where did this dish come from? I would hazard a guess that the ancestor of modern garlic bread was bruschetta (pronounced Broo-sket-tah). This is garlic bread at its most ancient, simple and desirable. Bruschetta is simply good quality country Italian bread, toasted over hot coals, rubbed with a cut clove of garlic, then drizzled with the finest extra virgin olive oil you can afford. Dismiss any versions of bruschtta that include cheese, spinach or tandoori chicken. The only variant you should entertain is tomato and basil bruschetta.
My garlic bread pays homage to the classic Italian original - yet still remains a little different. Many years ago I was the chef at a restaurant that pumped these garlic breads out at an obscene pace - they were called "garlic foccaccia" on the menu, but were simply known as "G-Focc" to us kitchen lackeys. Yells of "G-FOCC" would reverberate around the kitchen as yet another table ordered fifty cents worth of bread that we charged five bucks for. Nobody ever complained cause the damn things tasted so good.
So how do you make them at home? Well we had a head start with a commercial char-grill, but you can make a pretty good version at home as well. If you have an open flame, like a BBQ, then you are well on the way, however this dish can also be made on the stovetop - just use a large non-stick skillet or fry pan.
1 loaf good quality bread - sourdough, ciabatta or pain de campagne.
1 quantity of garlic oil
Chopped fresh rosemary, oregano or thyme
Slice the bread into thick wedges. With the aid of a pastry brush, paint each cut slice of bread generously with the garlic oil. Sprinkle with the herbs and salt, then place onto the BBQ grill, or a well-heated, dry fry pan (skillet).
Cook for a few minutes, until the slices are nicely golden, then turn over and do the other side. Serve up while they still smell fantastic and are piping-hot.