Yakima Valley Artichoke Appetizer

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Fresh from the oven Yakima Valley Artichoke Appetizer

This recipe originally came into my files from my sister-in-law and culinary diva, Mary-beth. Or was it from my other sister-in-law, entertaining diva, Priscilla? Well, it was definitely from one of these two talented women.

For a few years, many years ago, while living amongst the Bradley clan and their merry circle of friends in Yakima, Washington, this appetizer appeared at EVERY cocktail party. It was a novelty at the time and a darned good one at that. But as the years passed, and we moved to Seattle, I forgot about it.

Closeup Yakima Valley Artichoke Appetizer

Then a couple of weeks ago, as I was perusing the LunaCafe All Recipes page, I realized that I have inadvertently neglected the appetizer category in our first 15 months as a blog. How in heaven’s name did that happen? So I rushed to my culinary file cabinet (relegated to the garage, as all of my more recent work is on computer), pulled out the appetizer folder, and flipped through it to see if there were any choice nuggets to share. Artichoke Appetizer fell right in my lap.

As I was looking at the recipe with fresh eyes and a couple of decades of subsequent culinary education, I realized that it is actually a frittata. Whereas an omelet is all about the eggs and must be cooked quickly and gently, and served hot, moist, and straight away, a frittata is more about the filling ingredients (with the eggs as binder), is cooked more slowly, and served either hot or at room temperature. One nice thing about a frittata, besides its tolerant nature, is that it is sturdy enough to eat out of hand, whether at a picnic or a cocktail party.

Ingredients Yakima Valley Artichoke Appetizer

So as I was pondering the unphotogenic aspect of the original presentation (baked in a 9-inch pan, cut into squares), I began imagining it in my new shallow, mini muffin pan instead. The portioning would be done before baking and would be round instead of square. Even more important, all of the edges would be browned.

I was just about to head to the OtherWorldly Kitchen to give it a go when I ran into a frittata on the web that was presented in just the way I was imagining, except that the author added the clever touch of positioning a very thin slice of salami on the bottom of the muffin cups to act as a stabilizer. This is supposed to ensure that the frittata doesn’t fall apart in your hand before you get it to your mouth.

In the baking tin Yakima Valley Artichoke Appetizer

As it turns out, it’s a nice touch if your frittata will benefit from the flavor of salami. However, this frittata recipe does NOT benefit from that dominant flavor. The salami overwhelms the more subtle flavor of the artichokes. Also, this retesting of the recipe reminds me that this appetizer is sturdy enough to stand on its own. It doesn’t need a bottom “crust.” So, although the photos show the salami addition, I don’t recommend it for this particular recipe. I will definitely try it again later with other, more strongly flavored, frittata mixtures.

On a silver plate Yakima Valley Artichoke Appetizer

Yakima Valley Artichoke Appetizer

This tasty appetizer is easy to make and nearly foolproof. Be sure to get the best jarred artichoke hearts you can find, preferably packed in olive oil.

You can bake these a little ahead if you need to, as they taste great even at room temperature. (Oh heck, we even loved them the next day after a few seconds in the microwave.) However, if you have the frig space, I recommend that you prepare the recipe only to the point of baking and then pop the pan in the oven as your guests arrive.

two 7½ ounce jars artichoke hearts in oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped (4 ounces; ¾ cup chopped)
1 clove garlic, peeled, pressed or minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
 
4 large eggs, beaten lightly
¼ cup fine fresh bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon Green Tabasco
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, and then to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 cups shredded Cheddar (5 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Topping
½ cup shredded Cheddar

  1. Drain the marinade from one jar into a sauté pan and reserve the marinade from the other jar.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and oregano to the sauté pan and sauté until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. If all of the liquid has evaporated, add 2 tablespoons of the reserved marinade. (The remaining marinade may be discarded.)
  3. Remove the sauté pan from the heat, and let cool slightly.
  4. Chop the artichokes.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the artichokes, eggs, bread crumbs, Green  Tabasco, salt, and pepper. Add the 2 cups cheddar, parsley, and cooled onion-garlic mixture. Mix thorougly but gently.
  6. Do ONE of the following:  Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with vegetable oil spray and fill it with the artichoke mixture. Or coat an 18-cup, shallow, mini muffin pan with vegetable oil spray and divide the artichoke mixture evenly between the cups.
  7. Top the artichoke mixture with the remaining ½ cup cheese.
  8. Bake at 325° for about 30 minutes for the 9-inch square pan or 18 minutes for the muffin pan. The frittata with be puffed and golden. If needed, broil for a minute or two to lightly brown the cheese topping.
  9. To serve, cut into small squares or simply remove from the muffin cups, and arrange on a platter. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Makes 18 servings, but no one ever eats only one.

COPYSCAPE3 Yakima Valley Artichoke Appetizer

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About Susan S. Bradley

Intrepid cook, food writer, culinary instructor, author of Pacific Northwest Palate: Four Seasons of Great Cooking, and founder of the Northwest Culinary Academy.

Comments

  1. Michelle Bateman says:

    Hey Susan-
    Just made a half batch of your lovely little artichoke gems for my husband & me. Was doing a test run for a party next w/e and was pretty sure we’d eat all 18 in one sitting if I made the whole batch. They were yummy and will be perfect for the party. Mine came out a bit oily too, as Lori mentioned in her post. I know you mentioned oven temp as a potential culprit, but I’m thinking my bag of Sargento grated cheddar might be at the root of my oily issue. It seems awfully soft & pliable right out of the fridge. Next time I’m gonna use an aged cheddar & grate it myself. I’m also curious about how finely you chop your onions & artichokes. I’m not usually quite so persnickity… but when serving a big crowd w/diverse tastes… I like to give it my best shot. Besides… I plan to be making these lovely gems QUITE often! Thanks for the tasty recipe!

    • Thanks Michelle! Yes, try a premium cheese next time and see if it makes a difference. I chop the artichokes and onions about 1/4-inch square, but a little larger will work fine too. Hope your party is a big success! :-)

  2. Susan,
    I tried these this weekend and they were yummy. However, I’m wondering if I did something wrong. They came out a little oily. Should I drain the onions well before adding them? Also, have you tried them with milder cheeses? If so, which do you recommend? Thanks!

    • Lori, thanks for letting us know. It sounds like the oil from the cheese may have separated (which happens if over heated). The actual oil in the recipe is not excessive and should bond with the rest of the mixture when baked. Perhaps check your oven temp to make sure it is not running hot and pull the appetizer from the oven a few minutes earlier next time. Other good melting cheeses will work too.

  3. Hello from London! I’m a West Coast/Gulf Coast ex-pat. I’m always on the lookout for party recipes and this fits the bill! We’re planning our annual Christmas party, at which I always serve three or four appetisers to pass as well as other nibbly thingies, followed by a full-on buffet with the required turkey in some form (last year was a rather smashing galantine), pulled pork, a shrimp dish (different every year but always inspired by my Alabama coastal roots), loads of sides and a blistering amount of cookies for afters, with boxes prepped so guests may take some, along with the individual fruitcakes which are currently aging in Calvados. I’m doing these little artichoke frittatas! Wanna come by?

  4. I would like to try this for a party in Nov. Can it be made ahead and frozen?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Lovely, but no printable style providded, and I went through a ream of paper to get this recipe.

    • Anonymous, I’m perplexed here. Did you click the Print This Post link just above the Comments section? I just tried it, and the printed recipe came out fine. Please let me know if you used this method. Any other method would not work very well. Best…Susan

  6. I want to make this tomorrow for a dinner party but I cannot figure out when to add the rest of the cheddar cheese and the parsley

  7. We made these for a family brunch. They were devoured by adults and picky children alike. Thanks for the great recipe! We’re going to be making these again this weekend for a different group.

  8. Your page and recipe is very beautiful to read. Being from Yakima, I especially enjoyed reading about your escapade in discovering it. I have linked it to my artichoke article. Thank you so much. http://www.examiner.com/x-32993-Yakima-Healthy-Foods-Examiner~y2010m1d31-Vegetable-with-a-Royal-and-Sensual-Heritage-Artichokes

  9. I can’t wait to try these this weekend. I absolutely love artichokes but can never find any good recipes. This recipe looks awesome. Thanks!

  10. Thanks Kevin! :-)

  11. These look yummy. I have an artichoke appetizer recipe that is “worn out”. This would be a great substitution!

  12. Georgous & very tasty & inviting appetizers! Yummie,…

  13. Too bad the salami overwhelmed the delicate flavor. I would have thought it was a pretty tasty addition.

  14. oh wow…don’t those look tasty! I think I’d like to make them for super bowl sunday (fancy it up a bit for us women….the men can keep the pretzels and beer)
    .-= danielle´s last blog ..Salisbury Stroganoff =-.

  15. These artichoke muffins sound so amazingly tasty!

  16. Oh how I wish I had this last week. I bought artichokes and wanted to make an appy. Thanks for the post! Awesome photos!
    .-= Baking is my Zen´s last blog ..Happy New Year 2010 ~ Pavlova for everyone! =-.

  17. Oooh, I cannot wait to try this dish. My signature dish for family brunches has been quiche for about the last fifteen years. Next time, I think I’m going to make this, too. Then the people who hate change can have the mini-spinach quiche, and the adventurous souls can try these. They look so good that I think I better make a “test” batch really soon. ;-) I also love your addition of the Green Tobasco. Both of my grandchildren love artichokes, so even the kids should enjoy these. Thanks for another fabulous recipe!

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chef Luna, Dani. Dani said: Mini Frittata by @LunaCafe ~ Yakima Valley Artichoke Appetizer http://thelunacafe.com/yakima-valley-artichoke-appetizer/ [...]

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