Friday, March 16, 2012
Artichoke Hearts Gratin Pizza
T and visited St. Louis many years ago. Guided by a friend who knew the city well, it was suggested we bypass the famously established fine dining Italian restaurant on the outskirts of town and eat instead at the slightly less expensive but superior Italian restaurant downtown.
I remember the five servers who hustled to keep our wine and water glasses full and our table crumb-free. I remember a fire place that flickered although it was 100 degrees outside. Although our meal was beyond fabulous, I don't remember exactly what we ordered except for the vegetable courses: roasted asparagus that came with an entree, and the baby artichokes that started the meal. The asparagus was nutty and sweet and I've been roasting or grilling my asparagus ever since. The baby artichokes, although breaded and fried, were delicate yet complex. But were they easy enough for a home cook to imitate?
I've thought about those artichokes many times over the years. This artichoke gratin pizza comes pretty close to my memories. Next time I'll add red pepper to the roasting vegetables for sweetness and color.
Artichoke Gratin Pizza
Dough for one pizza crust, rolled very thin
9 ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
5 garlic cloves, smashed and skin removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup mozzarella or provolone, shredded
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Toss artichoke hearts and garlic in tablespoon of olive oil; generously salt and pepper. Roast single layer on baking sheet in preheated 400 degree oven until vegetables caramelize; turn once. Remove from oven and set aside. When cool, smash garlic into a paste.
Top pizza crust with shredded cheese and a drizzle of olive oil; bake in 425 degree oven until cheese is just melted and crust begins to crisp. Dot cheese evenly with garlic and artichokes.
Mix together panko, olive oil, Parm-Reg, and seasoning. Spread mixture over artichokes.
Return pizza to oven and continue baking additional 10 minutes, or until bread crumbs become golden brown.