I always look for a new ideas for the appetizers so I can serve something different each time we have company over. My friends are super easy to entertain because most of them are open minded foodies that are ready to try whatever I may come up with. Whenever I make something completely new that I have never tried before, I like to also put out something "safe" like humus, salsa, guacamole, or cheese just in case the "experiment" didn't work (if only it was so easy in the lab). This time I decided to take a new recipe for a "test drive" before having people over for Easter dinner just to make sure that this appetizer is worth serving. I saw it on the "Giada at Home" cooking show (which I'm kind of addicted to) and I must say this is amazingly delicious and it will definitely be on my Easter menu. I'm talking about Artichoke and Bean Crostini and here is what you need to make it:
* french baguette
* 1 can (12oz) artichoke hearts or 1 bag frozen artichokes, thawed
* 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
* 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* zest from 1/2 lemon
* lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
* salt and pepper
In a food processor combine the artichoke hearts, cannellini beans, basil, cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until the mixture is chunky and then while the machine is running, slowly add the olive oil. Slice the baguette, drizzle it with a little bit of olive oil, and bake at 400F for about 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Spoon the artichoke mixture on top of the bread and it's ready to serve. You can also sprinkle it with some crisped prosciutto for a nice crunch.
It's so delicious! Kind of reminds me of humus a little bit, but I think it's much more flavorful and refreshing (lemon and basil). Actually it's so good that I promised my girlfriends that I'm going to bring it to our next girls' night. I'm sure they are going to love it.