Have you ever been in a restaurant, eaten something so delicious you believed you’d faint, and then thought, “I could make that”???
I went to a fabulous restaurant in New York City called La Masseria on 48th. On the menu that day was an appetizer that made my mouth water: artichoke hearts baked with Taleggio. Taleggio is an Italian washed-rind, cow’s milk cheese. A washed-rind cheese is washed or “rubbed” by hand with a moist cloth soaked in a brine solution of rock salt and water to inhibit growth of mold and encourage the growth of bacteria. Taleggio has a strong aroma but a tangy, slightly salty flavor. It melts like a dream. Ripe Taleggio will be soft enough to cut with a dull butter knife. The reddish-brown crust should be uncracked.
Later that week, I tried to copy the recipe, and I have to say I got pretty darned close. I’m no chef. I’m an author and I write The Cheese Shop Mysteries that will be coming out from Berkley Prime Crime next July, but I’m always on the alert for a new cheese-based dish.
I’d like to share my version of the appetizer. Enjoy and remember when you’re done eating, remember to smile and “Say Cheese!”
ARTICHOKES AND TALEGGIO
Makes: 1 PORTION
1 tsp. olive oil
3 canned artichokes (in water), or 3 fresh small (2”) artichokes cooked tender, and halved
2 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 clove garlic, sliced
2 oz. white wine
2 oz. Taleggio, diced
Saute olive oil, artichokes halved, mushrooms sliced, garlic sliced, white wine.
Put into casserole pan.
Top with Taleggio, diced, pinch salt, and pinch nutmeg
Bake 400 degrees, 6 minutes until cheese is bubbling.
The Cheese Shop Mysteries, by Avery Aames, are coming out in July 2010 from Berkley Prime Crime.
Learn more about Avery at her website -- http://www.averyaames.com/ and sign up for her newsletter, a monthly event with tidbits, mini-histories of cheese, and future contests.