Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A good save

Fall has arrived here in the northeast. On this cool, sunny day as the first of the downed leaves swirl at my feet it seemed perfect to have something rich, warm, and soothing to eat. But before I could be soothed, I needed to learn something, evidently.

Today I learned that inital attempts at things that seem like fabu ideas (like rich, warm, soothing food) from the (questionable) genius that is my thought pool do not always pan out so successful as to cause me to put a sign on the front lawn which reads: Fabu, Soothing, Rich food has been made right here! This day has also helped me to correct my own misguided notion that Ina Garten could do no wrong in writing a recipe. I would have known sooner, only I have never made nor read the comments for her recipe for Asian Salmon. Had I, I would have been armed with more sketicism, ah, and a bit less salt, it seems. What's a day without toppling one of my pedastal dwelling idols, aye?

So, you see, I was flipping through House Beautiful magazine and there was Barefoot Contessa's recipe for a broiled artichoke and tomato dish. Now, possibly you are thinking I should not take inspiration from periodicals for whom cuisine is a distant afterthought and where upholstering the heck our of the French chair craze is at the front of their editorial consciousness. I am willing to take my lumps when it comes to disappointing recipes, however. Let's face it, Bon Appetit has not tried its hand at upholstery but maybe it should, it suffers a fair share of poor recipes in my wiltingly humble judgement.

Anywho, I figured, it couldn't hurt to try the House Beautiful recipe. And while it did not so much hurt, I certainly would not say it helped with tasty nourishment.

While the Contessa contends artichokes are too hard to handle fresh and taste lovely roasted, they do not retain as much flavor as she leads you to believe. They take some doctoring dealt with and prepared in this fashion (more than she deemed necessary), and the help of tasty tomatoes; just the sort one can find at this time of year. But if one spends an extra moment dabbling in the cabinet, they will have an outstanding roasted vegetable dish which is spectacular on top of the Gorganzola Bread recipe of a few days ago! Such a relief it was not all for naught. Rich, soothing, and fabu, just as I hoped and now on to your table. Break out the last bottle of Rose in the fridge, our glorious season is closing.

Roasted Artichokes and Tomatoes on Gorgonzola Bread
Serves 8

As a side dish for beef, this is lovely though when it is not served with something as strong as Gorgonzola, it will be best to use fresh artichokes. While the oven is very hot and usually olive oil has too low a smoke point for this heat, the frozen artichoke and tomato will release enough moisture to prevent scorching.

The roasted vegetable dish will also be lovely with or atop garlic or basil bread. With a light soup, and a bit of Rose, this would make a fabulous lunch!

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound (16 ounces) frozen artichoke hearts
1/2 pound (1 large) heirloom tomato, seeded and cut in thin wedges
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme, preferably fresh
1/2 teaspoon marjoram, dried
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium size ovenproof baking dish, swirl olive oil around the bottom until it spreads out a bit. Add artichokes and tomatoes. Sprinkle on the remaining ingredients and toss all together to coat. Place in oven and bake 20 minutes or until artichokes are cooked through and tomatoes have softened and skin wrinkled.

Allow to cool five minutes. Taste and readjust seasonings if needed. Serve with a slotted spoon, liquid allowed to gently drain from the solids, atop Blushing Hostess Gorgonzola Bread.

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