Revival of a Favorite: Artichoke Squares

Bathed in that late afternoon cocktail glow.

Bathed in that late afternoon cocktail glow.

The weekend is upon us, and it’s time for a savory little nibble to go with that happy hour cocktail. Enter these delectable Artichoke Squares.

You know you want one!

You know you want one!

This is one of those throwback recipes, circa 1960 or so. I’ve updated it with some fresh ingredients, really tasty extra sharp cheddar cheese, herbs, spices and plain panko breadcrumbs instead of the canned, seasoned, Italian type.

And because I always try to use as few, or minimally, processed foods and ingredients as I possibly can in my cooking, I decided to make my own marinade for the artichoke hearts instead of using the jarred marinated version. The result was wonderful. Fresh and clean-tasting marinated artichoke, and a commitment to marinate my own from now on for every recipe that calls for them.

Come a little closer...

Come a little closer…

But I digress. These Mad Men-worthy bites of deliciousness are the perfect companion for most any cocktail—from martinis to sweeter concoctions, with a glass of wine or a beer…and they make for some darn good eating without an adult beverage, as well. They’re rich and have a marvelous texture, so I like to cut them into small squares where I can eat more than one…or two…or three.

Now reach in and grab one or three!

Now reach in and take a bite!

Since these Artichoke Squares can be made ahead and they freeze perfectly, they’re just right for that busy day when you need an appetizer you can pull together quickly and have ready for guests—or for yourself—pronto. Just take out what you need from the freezer, warm them in the oven on a cookie sheet and they’re ready to plate and eat. And they look pretty, too.

Cheers to the weekend!

Artichoke Squares Redux
Makes 54, some to eat now and some to freeze for later!

For the marinade:
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar, unseasoned
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon dried and crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Remaining ingredients:
1-14 oz can of artichoke hearts packed in water, drained, rinsed in water, drained again
1 large sweet onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoons fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I use Cabot)
1/3 cup plain panko (Japanese style) breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried and crushed red pepper flakes
4 eggs, beaten

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients. Finely chop the artichoke hearts and add them to the marinade, stirring to coat them well. Allow them to marinate while you prepare your other ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and lightly grease a 7 inch by 11 inch glass baking dish with olive oil and set aside. Drain the chopped artichoke through a fine meshed sieve, pressing on the artichoke, and reserving the marinade by allowing it to drain directly into a large, non-stick skillet. Set aside the artichoke hearts. Heat the marinade over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and sauté in the marinade for about 5 minutes, until the onion is softened. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the artichoke hearts, the sautéed onion and garlic mixture with the marinade, and all of the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine well. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and smooth the surface, spreading evenly. Bake the mixture at 325 degrees F for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan. Cut into small squares with a very sharp knife. Serve at room temperature or freeze the squares on a cookie sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag. When ready to use, remove what you need, warm them on a cookie sheet in a 300 degree oven, and serve slightly warm or at room temperature. These should keep a couple of months in the freezer, if they aren’t eaten first.

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7 thoughts on “Revival of a Favorite: Artichoke Squares

  1. I really do love artichokes, Betsy, and these squares sound perfect! And I do like your suggestions for accompaniments. I’ll have a vodka martini, very dry, with a twist, please.
    What troubles commenting? I had none whatsoever. Being far behind in commenting does have its advantages. 🙂

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    • Hey John! So happy to “see” you here again. 🙂 Wish we could “sit a spell” with a martini and some artichoke squares and visit…wouldn’t that be fun? Yes, the comments are back on this original post. It’s an odd thing. I checked to make sure “allow comments” was on when the post wouldn’t allow comments, and it WAS checked. Eventually I trashed the post. Then WP needed it to troubleshoot, I restored it, and they said allow comments wasn’t checked. Now, I didn’t uncheck it, and I know what troubleshooting I did myself and it was checked on my end initially. Ghosts in the machine. I’m just glad you could comment when you wanted to and that you did! ;

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  2. These look great Betsy, Perfect little pre-dinner nibbles me thinks. Love artichokes so much as well. Don’t think I ever had them with cheese before… it’s an unknown combination to me!

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    • Oh my goodness, Charles! We use artichokes and cheese in combo here all the time. I have an artichoke dip on the blog that combines artichokes, parmesan and cheddar plus a few other ingredients…delicious. Also they are great on pizza or in a salad combined with feta, somewhat of a Greek approach. Give it a try sometime, I don’t think you’ll be displeased at all! 🙂 Thanks for your comment.

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  3. Pingback: Keeping It Classic: Steak au Poivre, Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus | bits and breadcrumbs

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