Last week I took my five boys to the playground to meet some friends and somehow or another ended up taking ten boys home with me. It’s funny how that happens sometimes.
I was happy I had the extras around, though, because I was working on a few recipes and needed some unvarnished opinions. One of the recipes I had on the docket was one I had made previously for my family but wanted to make again for the purposes of double-checking myself. I was brushing up on my finger food skills and had done my own version of the cheese breads that have circulated the great interwebs for some time.
Why work on snacks right now?
Not to make you panic or anything, but you have eight days until the NFL football season officially starts. That’s right, you have eight days to get yourself in gear for snack food season. If you have kids playing football, you’re already in the thick of it.
Even more importantly (to me), the season premiere of Doctor Who is on Sunday. Hello. This year is so very timey wimey. This clearly requires food, and lots of it.
Have you wrapped your brain around all the delicious possibilities yet?
This cheese bread is just about the perfect option. It doesn’t require any exotic ingredients, it’s easy as can be to put together, it can be cooked in your oven or on a grill at a tailgating party, and it’s a serious crowd pleaser. In fact, when I said, “Go ahead, guys… dig in…” This is what happened.
What you can’t see in this picture is my husband sitting off to the right growling because the boys’ hands got to the bread before his did. Behold the power of the cheesy bread.
Right after this picture was snapped, The Evil Genius performed a perfect swan dive directly into the center of that loaf. He proclaimed it to be dangerously good.
The boys (mine and the others) concurred.
Then there were requests. My boys asked to have it at their birthdays. Their friends asked that I serve these at the boys’ birthdays. Then one friend asked that at the next sleepover, I ONLY serve this bread, and lots of it.
I’d say that’s pretty successful wouldn’t you?
Those boys are no fools: they know good food when they taste it. It’s hard to go wrong when you start with soft-on-the-inside/crusty-on-the-outside Italian bread that is cut into grab-able squares, generously doused with melted butter mixed with minced green onion and garlic, toasted til hot and tender, then crammed full of Cheddar cheese and baked until bubbly with browned bits of cheese capping it. I suppose the shower of chopped parsley at the end is strictly optional, but it does look nice and it at least makes a valiant attempt to add some breath freshening to the party.
Like a fool, I told the boys about the cook’s tax (the crispy bits of cheese stuck to the foil after the bread is gone) and like the smart young men they are, they ate all of it.
If any of those guys are reading this, I have a message for them, “Unlimited Tailgating Bread is yours if you come clean my barn and help me plant garlic this fall.”
That oughta do it.
I’d better go grate some cheese.
Cheddar Tailgating Bread
- 1 loaf Italian bread 16 ounces, by weight
- 1 pound grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 stick 4 ounces by weight butter
- 1 large clove of garlic minced or pressed
- 1 bunch of green onions scallions trimmed and thinly sliced
- A fistful of fresh curly parsley minced
- Nonstick cooking spray and foil
- Preheat oven to 350°F (or preheat grill to medium heat). Lay out a double thickness of standard foil (or a single thickness of heavy-duty foil.) Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside
- In a microwave safe bowl, or a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the butter until melted and mix in the garlic and sliced green onions. Stir with a serving spoon.
- Lay the loaf of bread on the cutting board and cut a ½” grid pattern into it stopping about ¼” above the base of the bread so that it stays connected. Gently pry apart the bread and spoon the butter mixture along the seams. Gently wrap the foil up around the top of the loaf and put on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, open the foil and sprinkle the Cheddar cheese over the top, gently pushing some of the cheese down into the cut bread.
- Leave the foil open and return the pan to the oven or grill and raise the heat to 425°F or HIGH for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and bubbly and lightly browned on top.
- Let set for 3 minutes before showering with freshly minced parsley and serving.