Monday, August 1, 2011
Okay, so for the last two posts I've been going on and on about Sarah Huck and Jaimee Young's new book Campfire Cookery. I was going to stop with two, but see, the thing is, I really didn't want to leave this recipe out. I think I've fairly well covered the ins and outs of the book, so you should definitely refer to those first two posts for more.
Although it's billed as a book on campfire cookery (and it definitely is that), I was without a campfire, and successfully made everything on a grill on a balcony in Chicago. Speaking of Chicago, thanks to my sister's forethought and planning (and willingness to add me to a reservation she'd already made months in advance) we got to have dinner at Girl and the Goat, Stephanie Izard's Windy City restaurant. It was there that I discovered the glory of heating things normally served cold. In the case of Girl and the Goat it was hot, marinated olives. In the case of this recipe? Hot, marinated artichoke hearts. They are addicting, even leaving aside the tomato and gruyère, and I mean, who would want to do that? The recipe calls for 4 baby artichokes to be dressed by the cook with olive oil, salt and pepper. I'm sure that's perfection in itself, but we couldn't find baby artichokes, so used marinated hearts and simply left off adding more oil and flavoring to them.
Like the first two recipes, the trout and the shortcakes, these tartines/bruschette/toasts can be made either over a fire or simply on a grill. This entire meal was made from the cookbook, by myself, my sister and her boyfriend 'M' on the balcony of his his Chicago high-rise. I'll admit that living in NYC with no access to a grill has rendered it one of the pieces of cooking equipment in which I am anything but versed. So M manned the grill and managed to cook everything to perfection, even as he was working off of instructions like 'prepare a medium-high-heat fire' and let it burn. Just replace 'fire' with 'grill' and you too can be such a master of the backyard cookout.
Grilled Tomato, Marinated Artichoke & Fresh Gruyère Tartine
Excerpted (with permission) from Campfire Cookery (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; June 2011) by Sarah Huck and Jaimee Young
Provides 8 portions
Should one be in a wooing state of mind, we believe this tartine might b just the thing - the humble artichoke joins the ranks of oysters, chocolates, truffles, and Spanish fly in its supposed possession of aphrodisiacal powers. We've even heard murmurs that King Henry VIII nurtured an extreme fondness for them, and are we not all familiar with his insatiable, er, appetite?
Although there is simply no comparison to the clean, grassy flavor of fresh artichokes (which are abundant in spring and fall), if one does not wish to fritter away time removing the prickly purple chokes, then do substitute a tin of drained and marinated artichokes.
8 ounces baby artichokes (about 4), peeled and cut into eights (see Advisement)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly milled black pepper, to taste
2 cups ripe grape tomatoes
One 12-ounce baguette, split horizontally and cut crosswise into 6 pieces
1 garlic clove, cut in half
12 ounces Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced
1. Prepare a medium-high heat fire, with the flames licking the grill grate. Let it burn steadily for 30 minutes.
2. Toss the artichokes with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the artichokes tightly in a square of foil. Place the artichoke packet on top of the grill grate or nestle it into the coals. Cook until a knife pierced through the artichokes proves them tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Thread the tomatoes onto several metal skewers. Coat them with the remaining oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and grill them, turning them occasionally with one's own gloved hand, until blistered and soft (the tomatoes, not the hand), 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Place the bread, cut side facing the flame, upon the grill. Stand by until lightly charred, a feat that should take only a dozen seconds or so.
5. Remove the bread form the heat and rub the cut surfaces with the garlic cloves. Top them with the roasted tomatoes, grilled artichokes, and cheese slices. Wrap each toast loosely in lightly oiled foil. Grill until the cheese is melted, 4 to 5 minutes.
Advisement: To make quick work of preparing the artichokes for the first, begin by slicing away the top third of the artichoke. Next, remove any particularly fibrous and stiff outer leaves, one at a time, as if descaling a dragon. Use a spoon to carve out the bristly core.