PHOTO: Rachael Brugger
We’ve just pulled three wheelbarrows full of our German red hardneck garlic from our growing fields. Some of the mature fist-sized heads confirm that despite the numerous polar vortexes experienced in Wisconsin this past winter, our garlic crop came out just fine. It took about five hours to get the entire crop into our straw-bale greenhouse (it’s partly shaded) and old chicken coop for proper curing.
Although it’s termed German red, this garlic variety is mottled purple against a white-to-tan colored skin. It’s smaller than Music garlic, another hardneck variety, but has a spicier, more intense flavor and a well-rounded tolerance to cold. Its name is said to originate from the German immigrants that brought it to North America from Europe.
While we reserve our largest garlic heads to seed next year’s crop, about $400 worth are sold to Derek Roller, who runs Echollective Farm in Mechanicsville, Iowa, to use as seed.
We use what remains of our garlic crop in our favorite garlic-based recipes and sell it to bed-and-breakfast guests in late summer and into the autumn. Among our regular recipe stand-bys are a basil pesto, garlicky mashed potatoes and oven-roasted garlic, used as a spread on fresh bread, especially when it’s warm from our wood-fired outdoor oven. Now, thanks to John’s mom, Sue, we can add an Artichoke Garlic Bread to the list.
“It’s a gigantic bagel,” laughs Sue, as she pulls the bread from the oven. Even though, technically, it’s not prepared like a bagel, with the hole in the middle, it sure looks like one. Garlicky scents from the nearly 1½-foot-diameter “bagel” drift toward our table. While many recipes for artichoke garlic breads have you top the loaf or bread slices with a mixture of garlic, artichokes and cheese, for this recipe the ingredients are baked right into the bread.
Unlike recipes that toss out the artichoke marinade in the jar, this one uses it to flavor the bread. It also helps keep the bread wonderfully moist. Our son liked it so much that he made sure there were no leftovers.
Recipe: Artichoke and Garlic Bread
Yield: 6 servings
- 1 loaf unbaked white bread dough (use your favorite recipe)
- 6 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, chopped (save marinade)
- 1¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ tsp. dried basil
- 1½ tsp. dried oregano
Prepare bread recipe up to the point of baking it.
On floured surface, roll dough into a 12-by-18-inch. Brush half artichoke marinade over one side of dough. Spread 1 cup cheese, garlic, basil, oregano and artichokes over dough.
Roll dough into log, starting with long edge. Seal log by pinching seam.
Set log onto 12-by-15-inch baking sheet, and shape into a ring. Pinch ends together to seal. Brush ring with remaining artichoke marinade.
Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rise in warm location for about 30 minutes.
Bake dough uncovered at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, then remove from oven to top dough with remaining cheese. Place bread back in oven to bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Serve immediately, slicing angular wedges from the circular loaf.
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