Monday, September 15, 2008

Fresh Artichoke and White Bean Crostini

I know this looks like a lot of ingredients for a tiny crostini but you should have most of these laying around and if you don't have the exact cheeses listed in the recipe go ahead and improvise. I should name my next blog Everything is Better with Cheese.

Crostinis have great texture and white beans with a little salt and lemon could be one of my favorite snacks. If you don't want to go through the labor of carving out fresh artichoke hearts just use the canned or jarred ones. I like to drain them and give them a quick rinse so they are not so oily. This cuts prep time and makes the recipe more accessible. Maybe an after work bite with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc?

Fresh Artichokes and White Bean Crostini


4 artichokes, halved lengthwise, tops and stems trimmed, center leaves removed, chokes scraped out
6 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 large fresh thyme sprigs
1 cup drained rinsed canned cannellini (white kidney beans)
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup (packed) finely chopped fresh basil plus whole leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
8 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick slices pain rustique or other flat country bread
Lemon wedges


Bring artichokes, 6 cups broth, and next 5 ingredients to boil in large saucepan, adding more broth if necessary to cover. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until artichoke hearts are very tender, about 50 minutes. Chill artichokes in broth mixture, uncovered, until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Remove artichokes from broth; drain. Pull off leaves. Cut hearts into 1/3-inch cubes; place in large bowl. Mix beans, cheese, 1/4 cup chopped basil, and 2 tablespoons oil into hearts. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange bread on rimmed baking sheet. Brush with oil. Bake until beginning to crisp, about 8 minutes.

Spoon artichoke topping onto bread. Squeeze lemon juice over; top with basil leaf.


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