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The Big Cheese

The Big Cheese

At first I thought it was just this forever-long, forever-cold winter that is drawing me to all kinds of dishes that could fall into the comfort food category.  Possibly, and the fact that biologically we are inclined to eat more calories in order to burn them for fuel and body heat.  And then I looked again at this recipe and imagined sitting on my front porch in Ocean Grove with a couple of friends on a midsummer’s eve sipping wine and munching on this savory bread appetizer.

Monkey bread, also called monkey puzzle bread, sticky bread, African coffee cake, golden crown, pinch-me cake, pluck-it cake, bubbleloaf and monkey brains is a sweet, sticky, gooey pastry served in the United States for breakfast. It consists of pieces of soft bread with cinnamon sprinkled on it. It is served at fairs and other parks as a treat. But now it’s Lent and I’m off sweets for the next few weeks.  I discovered a savory version and I think you’ll like it.

THE BIG CHEESE

It’s Time To Rethink Monkey Bread

1 loaf unsliced bread

1 cup pesto

12 oz mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350° – Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Prepare the bread: Score the bread lengthwise.  To do this, slice the bread as you would for toast, but don’t cut all the way down to the base of the loaf.  The idea is to keep the bread in a loaf shape and fully intact.  Repeat this scoring across the width of the loaf.  You will end up with what looks like squares of bread.

Use a spatula or butter knife to spread pesto in the crevices of the bread.  No need to be precise-just get a good slathering in there.

Next, place mozzarella slices inside the crevices, wedging them  in so that they don’t stick out too far at the top (you want all that gooeyness inside the bread and off your pan).

Transfer the loaf to the prepared baking sheet and bake till pesto bubbles and cheese melts – 15-17 minutes. 

Serve warm.

Recipe from PureWow.com

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