Artichoke Bruschetta

Bruschetta con Carciofi

Let’s get one thing straight. Firstly Bruscetta is pronounced, /brusketa/ and not, /brusheta/. I just had to clear that up. Bruschetta is simply toasted or roasted bread, with garlic, olive oil and salt. That’s it. When you start adding anything on top of that it becomes, Bruschetta with …

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In this case I am posting two recipes for Bruschetta with artichokes. One is really easy and flexible which I think is pretty good and fuss free. The other is the very traditional Tuscan recipe. The first is completely dairy free, which I prefer, but the Tuscan one is great in it’s own way which I never refused to eat while I lived in Florence.

Let’s start with my recipe first. I’m taking a bold step with this recipe and using dark rye bread. It’s possible that these flavours will compete with each other but give it a go because the different flavours in this recipe take turns at highlighting themselves while you’re eating this. Firstly the fragrance of the lemon thyme while it’s under your nose, then the dominant taste of rye as you first bite into it, but then the reward of the artichoke once the rye subsides. I am going to make this again soon because I found it almost impossible to photograph well. I’ll be back with a more suggestive image soon.

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 artichokes

1 small leek (very finely chopped)

1 small handful of parsley leaf

1/2 glass dry white wine (optional)

4 thick sliced of rye or whole grain bread

1 lemon

1 pinch of lemon thyme

Extra virgin olive oil

Method

Prepare the artichokes, cut them into very thin slices and put them straight into lemon water.

Begin lightly frying the finely chopped leek.

Drain the artichokes and add 3/4 of them to the pan with the leeks and fry them for about 10 minutes.

In another pan, fry the remain 1/4 of the sliced artichokes till golden in colour. Put aside as these will be used as a garnish.

Add the wine to the pan with the leek and artichoke and reduce almost completely.

Then cover the artichokes and leek with water and bring to the boil.

Add a little salt and allow to simmer for about 25 minutes until there is still a little moisture left in the pan.

Remove from the heat.

Put the leek and artichoke and add the parsley into a food processor and blend until a smooth cream. You can slowly add a drizzle of olive oil as you blend to give it a silky feel. (it’s completely up to you how smooth you’d like the mixture, maybe try the pulse setting on the food processor until you reach your desired texture)

Toast the sliced bread under a grill or in an oven.

Spread the mixture evenly onto the sliced toast and garnish with the golden artichokes you have reserved.

Lightly sprinkle with a little lemon thyme and serve one slice to a plate or roughly chopped up for all to share.

Now, the great thing about the preparation of this artichoke cream is that you can make this in bulk and it makes a great sauce to accompany a quick pasta. Just cook your pasta al dente and use the artichoke cream like a pesto.  I’ll do this with some gnocchi and bake it sometime soon. Stay tuned.

Bruscetta Con Crema Di Carciofi

This is an antipasto from Tuscany. You’ll find it on most menus there and is one of the first things to arrive on the table. Usually it’s served warm or at room temperature. It’s delicious either way but if you can serve it warm, it’ll be delectable. Below is the simple traditional recipe. Obviously you can use whatever bread you like and add whatever herbs you wish to give it some colour but be sure not to use anything too overpowering as the flavours here are subtle. Put a bottle of extra virgin olive oil on the table and encourage a little drizzle on top.

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 slices of think crusty Italian bread,

3 artichokes + 1 lemon

1 onion -chopped,

60 g/ 2 ounces flour,

750 ml vegetable stock,

500 ml milk(optional),

40g/ parmiggiano cheese,

4 tablespoons cream (optional)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method

Prepare the artichokes as usual and chop them up finely and place in a bowl of lemon water.

Put the stock on to boil and the milk on to simmer. In the case you do not want to use the milk, just increase the amount of stock by 50ml.

Fry the onion in the olive oil to soften

Add the artichokes and the flour and heat this through

Add the vegetable stock and/or milk one a little at a time

Mix this well to avoid lumpiness.

Allow this to cook gently for about an hour stirring occasionally

When done, push this through a fine sieve or try blending it with food processor til smooth.

Add the cream and parmiggiano to this and mix into a nice creamy spreadable paste. (in the case you do not want cream replace with a little more stock)

Toast the bread and spread on evenly

This can be served straightaway.

Jamie Oliver does a bruschetta worthy of mentioning. Check it here.

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3 Responses to “Artichoke Bruschetta”

  1. sema says:

    just found your blog. i have a cupboard FULL of canned artichoke bottoms….i have now found so many awsome ideas for them! ( im seriously exited about veggies!!)

  2. mikey says:

    HI There,

    Thanks for your contribution. You know I miss all the different varieties you can find in Italy. I no longer live in Italy but fortunately live in Australia now where there are a few different kinds available. I’ve never lived in states but I understand it’s a little harder to find that variety in the USA although I know the giant ones are great for the amount of unadulterated flesh. Big bottoms.Yummo.

  3. Hello, glad to find your lovely blog! We lived in Livorno for several years, during which time I was taught to cook the very large, firm, purple Tuscan artichokes peeled back to a still sizeable core, cutting about one inch from the tip and leaving about an inch and one half of peeled stem attached. Those went face down in a blend of half lemon juice/half water plus olive oil bath and were steamed covered for about twenty minutes. They were delicious and strangely tasted (to me, a Southerner) like green beans simmering in bacon fat, but without the guilt. And no leaf-sucking, but just a large, tender treat. What ecstasy! We also enjoyed the artichoke concoction as you describe in so many other forms. (THANK YOU for the mention of the proper pronunciation of “bruschetta”. It is maddening to be corrected by servers in supposedly Italian restaurants as though we were ordering Braunschweiger!)
    Now the dilemma–I have yet to find an artichoke in America that even resembles those in Italy, much less the gorgeous purple. They are small, opened up practically to the center and tougher. We live in Kentucky, so it isn’t like we can pick them fresh. Have you found a source? Thank you for sharing!

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