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 …
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)
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 pinch of lemon thyme
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
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.