Friday, November 20, 2015

Artichoke Prosciutto Gratin

OK....there is really no way for me to oversell this appetizer.  It is out-of-this-world.  Utterly delicious.  It is an upscale version of the old artichoke (and usually spinach) dip.  It's super-simple to make and doesn't take long to cook.

A few things to say about the ingredients.  First and foremost important ingredient to me is the artichoke.  Every recipe I have ever used calls for artichoke hearts.  Personally, I just don't like them.....they always have a few prickly leaves on them that you end up spitting out.  I have discovered artichoke bottoms which are all lucious meat.  I can't always find them so I asked the manager at our local Publix market to see if he could order thing.  Bingo! (I just love Publix!)  The brand they found for me is Reese's.  If you can get them, try the much better and less wasted/discarded parts.

The next is mayo.  I am a committed Hellman's (Best Foods west of the Rockies) mayo person.  As is most of the mayo-consuming chefs (I've only heard one who preferred Duke's...I tried it....not even the the ballpark, in my humble opinion).

Lastly, fresh sage.  If you're going to indulge in the dip, you must use fresh sage (if you're making cornbread sage dressing for Thanksgiving, save a few leaves for this recipe).  It makes all the difference.  I wouldn't bother to make it if I only had dried sage to use.

Oh, one more thing....the crostini.  I usually use a good quality baguette (Panera is easily found).  I cut the baguette into about 1/4" to 1/2" thick slices.  Place on a baking dish and brush with extra-virgin olive oil.  Bake at 325F.....check at about 15 minutes.  I usually turn them over and turn the heat off until they are at the crunchiness I like.  I'll make the entire baguette and keep leftovers in a freezer bag in the freezer.  They keep for months for all the other dips, tapenades, and spreads you need over this wonderful autumn/winter holiday/football season.

ARTICHOKE PROSCIUTTO GRATIN (I made an entire batch and then ended up splitting the batch in two {it will keep for at least a week in the fridge} making two appetizer dishes each which served the two of us)

1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts or bottoms (preferably bottoms), about 1 cup chopped
4-6 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, diced
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
3/4 cup Hellman's mayo
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
Toasted slivered almonds

Mix all ingredients.  Spoon into a baking dish and bake in a 350F degree oven until bubbly (I stirred mine about halfway through to make sure it was warmed all the way through) until bubbly.  Top with toasted almonds.  Serve with crostini.

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