Friday, September 12, 2008

Artichoke Toasts

When my family gets together there tends to be massive amounts of food involved. Whether it's a mid-afternoon birthday gathering for one of the kids, a get-together for a visiting family member or friend, or just the typical holiday activities throughout the year.. we ALWAYS have a ton of food. In order to keep things interesting, I'm always on the lookout for really great appetizers that I can either bring fully prepared, or at least do most of the prep work ahead of time and throw together quickly in my Mom's kitchen. This is one of those recipes. I originally got the idea from an episode of $40 a Day with Rachel Ray, but have put my own twist on things to make the prep more simple and less time consuming, and also to suit my taste a bit more.

1 thin French Baguette (about 1 1/2" in diameter)
olive oil
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Thai chili garlic paste
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp honey
1 Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
1/4 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper (the jarred ones work fine)

Preheat oven to 300ºF.

Slice baguette into 1/2" thick rounds and lay out on a baking sheet. Brush tops of bread slices with olive oil and bake until lightly toasted (about 7 minutes).

Mix together the mayonnaise, chili garlic paste, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, honey, cheese, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Coarsely chop artichoke hearts and mix with chopped red pepper in a small bowl.

When the baguette rounds are toasted, spread a generous amount of the mayo mixture onto each one and then top with the artichoke pepper mixture. Serve immediately.

Everything but the assembly of these can be done ahead of time. If I make it the day before and have to refrigerate the ingredients, I usually warm the assembled toasts in the oven for a few minutes so they aren't ice cold.

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