Warm Bread and Baby Artichoke Salad with Marinated Crescenza

Make this tasty dish for dinner tonight from chef Traci Des Jardins

SERVES 6

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. each chopped flat-leaf parsley and fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. chopped thyme
9 oz. crescenza cheese or fresh mozzarella
Salt and pepper to taste
1 loaf French bread, crust removed
1 tbsp. olive oil
12 baby artichokes
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 sprig rosemary
4 oz. hardy salad greens (arugula, mizuna, treviso, or radicchio), washed and spun dry
1 tbsp. each minced shallots, minced chives, and slivered fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1. Marinate cheese. Mix 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil and chopped herbs. Pour over crescenza in a small bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Chill, covered, overnight or for 12 hours. Remove cheese from refrigerator and set aside.

2. Tear bread into small pieces and set aside. Remove tough outer leaves, thorny tips, and fibrous green layers from bottoms of baby artichokes. Quarter and remove fuzzy centers (chokes). Cut into ½-inch-slices and add to a large bowl of cold water and lemon juice as you work.

3. Warm 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan. Using a slotted spoon, transfer artichoke slices to pan. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook an additional 3 minutes until slices are tender. Season well with salt and pepper; set aside.

4. Mix salad greens and herbs in a large bowl. To make vinaigrette, combine balsamic and red wine vinegars in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Place 1 tbsp. olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add bread and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes. Add baby artichokes and cook until hot, 1 minute. Add cooked mixture to bowl of greens and toss with vinaigrette; season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Cut softened crescenza into 18 pieces, each about 3-in. long and ½-inch thick, using large spoons. Arrange 3 pieces on each small plate in a triangular fashion. Immediately, mound salad onto each plate. Serve warm.

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