Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Enough to (Arti)Choke a Horse

I have a confession. I am a hoarder...of artichokes. My pantry shelves are stocked with canned, jarred, marinated, and plain. My freezer has bags of frozen. I dare say that if they came in a dried version, I would have those as well. I can't seem to leave a grocery store without artichokes jumping into my cart. I have enough artichokes on hand to choke a horse.

I think that all of us that keep a stocked pantry fall prey to this from time to time. We shop without a list, buy what looks good, what is on sale, what catches our eye...and suddenly, we have 12 cans of chickpeas on hand because we were always hungry for hummus when at the grocery store. If you eat, shop, and have cravings, there will be a point when some item will make you question your own sanity at purchasing it time and time again. (And, there will always be that elusive ingredient that you should have on hand, but always forget. Right now, mine is ketchup. Heinz only, please.)

But, back to my artichokes. I decided it was time to clear some out of the pantry before I became part of an A&E television special. (By the way, please don't ever plan an intervention for me and dishware. I know that I have too many sets of china and odds and ends of serving pieces. But, I always have just the right piece when I need it...and they are pretty...and I like them. Back off.) Anyway, my options for the artichokes were numerous. I have made a fabulous chicken and artichoke dish, artichoke soups, salads with marinated artichokes, and artichoke dips and spreads that you just want to eat with a spoon, but it was Artichoke Bruschetta that was calling my name.

Cream and cheesy, this warm appetizer is so satisfying that it could be an entire meal for me. If you didn't want to take the time to toast the baguette slices and spread the topping, it could be heated as a dip and just served with the bread on the side. I, however, like making the tiny bit of effort in the kitchen and having a perfect hand-held snack (which is even better when paired with a glass of wine in the other hand.). It is so good that I am tempted to just hoard all of the Artichoke Bruschetta for myself On My Plate. Please, don't call A&E.

Artichoke Bruschetta

1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
(How big should the jar be? How much do you like artichokes?)

1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese (may need to adjust if you use a lot of artichokes)
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

5 tablespoons mayonnaise (again, may need to adjust for more artichokes)

1 French baguette, sliced 1/3 inch thick

Preheat the broiler.
Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet and toast lightly under the broiler.

Combine marinated artichoke hearts, Romano cheese, red onion, minced garlic, diced tomato and mayonnaise.
Spread each lightly toasted baguette slice with equal amount of the artichoke heart mixture.

Return slices to the baking sheet.

Broil 2 minutes, or until toppings are bubbly and lightly browned. (8-12 appetizer servings)
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