To me, this garlic toast recipe is like a favorite pair of shoes. I always pull it out when I want to feel comfortable. In addition to serving them before dinner, with cocktails, they are also a wonderful partner for a salad, a soup meal or a casual supper. When serving these toasts for cocktails, broil them about five minutes before your guests are due to arrive, since the aroma from both, the sizzling garlic and the parmesan cheese provides an awesome way to welcome your friends. Also, if planning to serve the toasts on a platter with further embellishments on top (try my Savory Mushroom Spread, a real family favorite!) don’t apply them until your guests arrive. Usually, after pre-broiling the toasts on both sides, I turn them over so the cheese side is up and I just keep the broiler on. That way, when my guests arrive, I can just run them under intense heat, to freshen things up.
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Combine the softened butter or oil with the garlic, parsley, basil, if using, and crumbled oregano. Season with pepper.
Spread a thin layer of the compound butter on both sides of the bread slices and lay them on a shallow baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops, only, with the grated cheese and grind on more pepper.
Position the oven rack close to the heat source and preheat the broiler. A few minutes before you’re ready to serve, broil the bread, turning once, until golden on both sides. After broiling the second side, turn the slices over, so the cheese-side faces up. Serve hot, piled and passed in a linen-lined basket as an accompaniment to soups or salads, or as a bed for a savory toppings.
The garlic butter can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator, well covered, for a week. If using oil, three days. If using butter, you can also freeze it for up to 1 month.
Thaw the butter until very spreadable before using.
If your bread is very fresh, the garlic toasts can be fully assembled, but not toasted, two days ahead, and stored in the refrigerator, securely covered. Let the slices come to room temperature before broiling