Pan Relleno

by Hilary Gauntt on April 3, 2012

What to feed the athletes on the eve of the Triathlon? Two of Jimmy’s friends were coming down from L.A. for the event in Oceanside early Saturday morning and would be spending Friday night with us.  Although bittersweet, it is always a joy to see them (and to feed them) and I knew some carbohydrate fuel was in order. So along with the Fettuccine Bolognese this crusty loaf  was on the menu.

This recipe was contributed by Kim Higgins, and it’s a rich and delicious south of the border version of garlic bread. It came from Jacqueline Higuera McMahan, author of the amazing cookbook, California Rancho Cooking, which is filled with recipes and stories from her family passed down through generations. “Versions of this recipe have been passed around from family to family because it’s another good way to freshen up a stale loaf or make a fresh loaf taste good. I could easily make a meal of pan relleno and a glass of wine.”  Me too….

1 loaf sourdough or French bread, cut in half lengthwise

1 cup sharp, finely grated cheese- Cheddar or Monterrey Jack

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbs. olive oil

4 Tbs. butter

1 Tbs. vinegar

1/4 cup chopped olives

aluminum foil

Blend all ingredients together.  If you use a food processor, do not puree the olives and onions.  Spread on each half of the loaf.  Wrap tightly in aluminum foil.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and loaf is good and hot.  Note:  If your oven is baking another dish at 400, not a problem; toss it in.  I have found I prefer to bake it a bit longer so that the crust is crunchy. Cut into slices and serve hot.

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