Saturday, May 21, 2011

Artichoke Olive Cheese Bread

MMMmmm, cheesy artichokes with olives on bread... can it get any better than that?  Maybe!  This appetizer is so easy to make, PLUS you can customize it for what you have on hand, or what you like! I have a list of ideas and variations at the bottom of the post for you to check out.

You know what makes this so fantastic to eat?  Each slice is already pre-loaded with cheese and topping and is read to go.  No more leaning over a dish of molten Artichoke cheese dips, trying to get some on your bread, this is way easier to eat. Another thing I like about this is that it appears to have less fat that the traditional dip that is made with mayonnaise, cream cheese and sour cream.

You could even pre-make this for a party, or get together, and then reheat at about 300 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  I made this last night and then kept it warm while the guys had to make a beer run before the movie night.  I did my technical duty and ate one piece when it was fresh, and had to eat another one when they got back- - yep, all in the name of research.  Both fantastic, heck, I will even admit it was awesome for breakfast this morning....

Below in the photo of ingredients, I have pictured more items that I called for in the list of ingredients, but I did that for a reason. I had it! I was thinking would be good on this bread, so I threw it in the photo.... just in case I got super inspired as I made it. With this one, use your imagination, it can be so many things.

(Whoops, I missed the Panko bread crumbs!)
Serves 4-8

1 long french baguette
1/4 cup olive oil
1 14-ounce can of artichokes in water or brine, drained and chopped
1/2 cup green olives, drained and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the baguette in half lengthwise and brush with the olive oil and place on a baking sheet.

Mix the chopped artichokes, garlic, olives, chopped parsley and about half the cheese together.

Heap on top of each side of the bread 

Top each side with the rest of the cheese, and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
Give them a pat (smash...) down with your hand to make sure that the filling is firmly onto the bread and won't cause some sort of hot cheesy accident when you trip to eat it.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, then heat the broiler and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.  You can keep it in a warm oven (250) for about 20 minutes if needed.

Don't like olives?  Substitute something else:
  • Use chopped spinach instead, fresh spinach would cook quickly enough in the oven and would be great.
  • Skip brushing the bread with olive oil and spread the bread with cream cheese, or goat cheese!!!
  • Add chopped green onions to the mixture.
  • Chopped mushrooms would be great, but I would gently saute them before mixing them with the artichokes.
  • Add green chilies, sliced black olives, Mexican cheeses and a little chili powder.  Yum...
  • You know, you could add shredded chicken to it too!
  • Feta... think of the possibilities!

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