Like a shortcut version of linguine alle vongole, Tony Liu’s garlic clam bread from the Queensboro relies on a delicious compound butter that can also be applied to hot pasta or steamed greens or just, like, spooned into your mouth. It recalls the canned goods of his Hawaii youth, his deep experience with Italian cooking, and his instinct for crowd-pleasing flavors and presentations.
- Slice the bread in half lengthwise so that it opens like a book. If it's a very moist or soft loaf, toast it for about 20 minutes in a 250°F oven, which will dry it out and keep the compound butter from sinking straight through and deflating the bread as it cooks. This is more an issue for the Italian-style loaves, which tend to have the structure of marshmallows or fluffy, happy cat dreams.
- While the bread dries, transfer the clam liquid to a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Reduce it by half, keeping a close eye on it to make sure it doesn't sizzle away. Once it's reduced, remove from the heat and let it cool to lukewarm, then fold into the butter, along with the clams, garlic, lemon zest, herbs, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Slather the butter generously onto both open sides of the loaf, and toast, buttered side up, in a 300°F oven until the cheese has formed a crust and the whole thing is maddeningly fragrant. Serve right away.
Laurie Woolever is a writer, editor, and right-hand man to Anthony Bourdain, with whom she co-authored Appetites: A Cookbook in 2016. She is a graduate of Cornell University and the professional culinary program at the French Culinary Institute (now known as the International Culinary Center), and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Food & Wine, GQ, Saveur, Dissent, Lucky Peach, and more. Woolever was formerly an editor at Art Culinaire and Wine Spectator. She lives in New York.