I mixed up a batch of basic white bread (2 loaf batch), but substituted a quarter cup of cornmeal for the same amount of white flour, and added a couple of tablespoons of "Pizza Sprinkle" herb mix which I picked up at DiGrigorio's Italian grocery and deli on the Hill in St. Louis. Normally I would use all fresh herbs from my garden, but it was raining pretty steadily, so I took a shortcut. The label says "oregano, red pepper and spices," which doesn't really help reproduce the recipe if you don't have the mix. I suspect 2 tsp. of dried oregano, 1 tsp. of granulated garlic, 1/2 tsp. each of dried basil and crushed red pepper, and 1/4 tsp. of dried thyme would do the trick. You could use any kind of baguette, even day old from the store, but you didn't hear that from me.
I used my long "W" pans (the kind you use for baguettes) and divided the dough into 6 roughly equal portions so the rounds wouldn't be too large. Unlike The Olive Garden, I didn't want my guests to fill up on soup and bread! After the rising and baking stages, I let them cool before slicing them into rounds about 1/4" thick. Just before the guests arrived I topped them with a mixture of mayonnaise, Italian cheese blend, and fresh herbs, then toasted them under the broiler. Unfortunately, I got too busy to get a photos, so I guess you'll just have to make them yourself! Below are more complete instructions from my book Thursday Night Pizza. Scroll to the bottom to view a photo gallery of the event. Be sure to check out the pictures of the Four Cheese Tomato Top Pizza and the Tiramisu Trifles.
Toasted Cheese Appetizers
1 12-inch narrow baguette, slightly stale
1 cup grated asiago cheese, or a mixture of cheeses
1/3 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup chopped garlic chives
1 Tbs. each fresh minced parsley, oregano, and basil
¼ tsp. ground pepper
Preheat broiler. Slice the baguette into ½-inch slices on the diagonal—go ahead and eat the ends—and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed. Spread the cheese mixture on the bread slices and arrange them on an ungreased baking sheet. Broil until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly browned. Serve while hot.
Notes --I first made these appetizers for our annual Memorial Day picnic and they were a huge hit—Br. Nathaniel was eating them like they were potato chips! That day I used homemade French bread, but you could use bakery bread if you absolutely have to. When I taught my friend Lynette to make these, we used homemade sourdough onion bread—mmm!
--Experiment with different cheeses and herbs. I’ve made these with white cheddar, sage, parsley and chives and they were quite good.
--If you don’t have fresh herbs, use dried, but reduce the chives to 2 tablespoons and the other herbs to 1 teaspoon each.