Ian Fleming was ahead of the curve when it came to food, anticipating culinary trends by describing, in his James Bond books, dishes and food items that had yet to be popularised. To a list that includes spaghetti Bolognese, curry and avocados, we can add garlic bread. Alas, there is no record of James Bond eating it, but in a December 1954 entry of his weekly ‘Atticus’ column, published in the Sunday Times between 1953 and 1955, Ian Fleming reproduced a recipe for garlic bread that he judged to be ‘sensational’.
Today a regular accompaniment to Italian food and many other dishes, garlic bread was, in the 1950s, a rare treat in the restaurant and almost unknown in the home (at least in Britain). Fleming’s recipe, credited to Mary Crickmere, gave his readers the chance to prepare garlic bread for themselves and add a little sophistication to their evening meals.
The original recipe calls for what Fleming terms a ‘French roll’ (obtainable, he says, from Lyons’ Corner Houses). He may mean a baguette, but this in any case is what I suggest one uses.
- 1 part-baked short baguette or baton
- 2-3 fat cloves of garlic, sliced very thinly
- Softened butter
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan-assisted; 390F). Slice the baguette width-wise three quarters of the way through at intervals of about an inch (2.5cm). Butter the slices as best you can (you may have to push the butter in with the butter knife – don’t worry if the top of the bread gets a little messy). Insert a slice or two of garlic into each slice. Put the bread on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove the bread, cut the slices all the way through, remove the garlic and serve. Sensational!