Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Artichoke Pizza with Thyme and Feta

An attractive entry today. Colorful and tasty.

First, a word on the aphrodisiac qualities of artichokes:

I found this amusing quote: "From the Book of Nature, by Dr. Bartolomeo Boldo in 1576, 'it has the virtue of . . . provoking Venus for both men and women; for women making them more desirable, and helping the men who are in these matters rather tardy.'"

And "In the 16th Century eating an artichoke would be a scandalous adventure for any woman. At that time, because the artichoke was considered an aphrodisiac, it was reserved for men only. In fact, the artichoke was denied to women and reserved for men because it was thought to enhance sexual power. "

And: "Artichokes are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium, but it is their phytonutrient content that really makes them shine."

No matter what the actual reason for believing they are aphrodisiacs, and the fact that there is no science proving their passionate qualities, they are delicious. I grew up eating these yummy buds steamed in water with a little lemon juice added and then served with a bowl of melted butter. It was a definite comfort dish for me.

For this dish from Intercourses:

canned artichokes, premade cheese pizza crust, mayonaise, garlic, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, pepper, feta cheese, olive oil and dried thyme. I also added a shallot and shredded mozzarella, just because I happened to have them on hand.

Slice the peppers, shallots and garlic.

Saute the peppers, shallots and some of the garlic in olive oil.

Puree the artichoke hearts, mayonnaise, remaining garlic and pepper in the food processor until creamy.

Spread the artichoke mix over the pre-made pizza crust.

Then I put the mozzarella over that.

Top with the sauteed veggies.

Then top with the feta and thyme and bake until golden brown.

It was well worth the time spent in making it. But I discovered that when using one of the pre-made pizza crusts, do not, and I stress, do not put it on a pizza pan with holes in it. It diasppointingly hardened the crust way too much. Also, next time, I'll cut back on the artichoke "sauce" by nearly half. It overpowered the peppers and cheese. It was too "wet" on top.

Carlo liked it, hard crust and all. A & J like each individual ingredient while I was prepping it, but they did not like the assembled pizza. They ended up eating peanut butter and jelly.

Is this recipe a keeper? Yes. Did it have any aphrodisiac qualities? No.

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