Simple Appetizers: Bacon Wrapped Artichokes, Prosciutto Roll-Ups, and Arancini Poppers

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Appetizer: n. Food before food. Fucking greatest shit ever. -Urban Dictionary

Not your average app sampler.

I’m sure we’ve all been told by our mothers never to show up to a party empty-handed. If this is the first you’ve heard of this rule, don’t panic. You have probably only embarrassed yourself a handful of times,* and it’s obviously your mother’s fault. Regardless, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s discuss what to bring to someone else’s party. Prior to my domestic makeover, I stuck to the traditional offerings of wine or flowers. For the record, these are ALWAYS appropriate and wonderful choices, as everyone enjoys drinking and tasteful floral arrangements.** However, every once in a while, your host may ask you to bring something specific such as dessert or some form of appetizer. If this happens, do not stress. Consider it a golden opportunity to showcase your domestic skills!***

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be presented with such an opportunity. My significant other informed me that we had been invited to his friend’s house for dinner and that we needed to “bring some apps, like a cheese plate or something.” Since I would rather die than show up with a hunk of cheese and some crackers (#boringandlazy, #shameful), I decided to whip up some simple yet impressive snacks: bacon-wrapped artichokes, fancy roll-ups, and arancini poppers. This combination of delicious finger foods is essentially the classiest app sampler around. I guarantee that everyone will be blown-away by your culinary expertise.And you’ll just be like:

Stop. Really, it was nothing.

Just make sure to lavish your host with compliments about his or her meal since your snacks will be a pretty tough act to follow. It’s not your fault that you’re so fabulous.*Unless you are incredibly anti-social, this is an understatement. However, I don’t believe in unnecessary self-flagellation, and based on the fact that you’re reading this blog, I’m sure you’ll make up for your faux-pas in the future!

**If you are unaware of what qualifies as a tasteful floral arrangement, please defer to the following guidelines: NO BABY’S BREATH. NO CARNATIONS. NO EXCEPTIONS.

***I’m going to stick to appetizers today because I feel like it. If you must make dessert today, Liberty has provided you with a number of ridiculously delicious options. I also recommend cake from a box…

* Oh, and have a bite of whatever cheese plate the less domestic guests show up with. It’s polite.

Bacon-Wrapped Artichokes: (Serves 8)

Bacon makes 99% of people happy.
-2 jars cooked baby artichokes (approx. 24 pieces). Any type will do. They are often jarred in some sort of marinade…so feel free to pick your poison. These can be found in most markets and Italian specialty stores.
-1 packet (12 pieces) of bacon. Peppered bacon is always a good choice…
-2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese


Preparing your artichokes:

-Drain the artichokes. Gently pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.

-Sprinkle the inside of each artichoke with a pinch of parmesan cheese. Artichokes are shaped like a flower…put the cheese INSIDE the flower.


-Wrap each artichoke in bacon and secure with a toothpick. Each artichoke requires about half a piece of bacon. Do NOT wrap the artichoke more than once, otherwise the bacon will not cook all the way through. (I’m sure you would have figured this out, but better safe than sorry).


-Heat a large pan over medium/high heat. When the pan is hot, add your bacon-wrapped artichokes. Brown them on all sides (you can flip them with a fork or your hands). This should take about seven minutes total.


-When browned, remove the artichokes from the pan and place them on paper towels to drain any excess fat.

-SERVE. If you are not serving them right away, no problem. Place them in a baking pan and cover with tinfoil. They can be reheated in the oven at 275 degrees for ten minutes prior to serving.


Fancy Roll-Ups: (Serves 6-8)


Prosciutto and Scamorza

-1/4 pound prosciutto
-Scamorza cheese (usually comes in a large ball…it looks like mozzarella)
-2-3 tablespoons basil pesto (to taste)


Preparing your roll-ups:

-Spread a thin layer of pesto in the center of each slice of prosciutto.

-Cut the scamorza into rectangular pieces approximately the size of your index finger, and place the cheese on top of the pesto.

-ROLL IT UP! (The simplicity is mind-boggling.)


Bresaola with Goat Cheese and Arugula Roll-Ups:

-1/4 pound bresaola
-1 cup goat cheese or any form of soft cheese that you like*
-2 cups arugula
-1 tsp olive oil
-juice of ¼ of a lemon
-salt and pepper to taste


Preparing your roll-ups:

-Place arugula in a bowl and toss with olive oil and lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste. (Careful with the salt…bresaola is verrry salty.)

This is also an awesome salad. Add some coarsely grated parmesan or pecorino.

-Slices of bresaola tend to be rather small, so I like to overlap two to three pieces to form the base layer of the roll-up. Place about 1 ½-2 tbsp of cheese in the center of the meat and top with a small amount of dressed arugula.



*This roll-up also tastes delicious with no cheese. The bitterness of the arugula contrasts nicely with the saltiness of the bresaola. Make sure to casually drop that information when describing the roll-ups to your guests. #impressive.


Arancini Poppers:

*See “Double Cheese Arancini” recipe in A Seat For Elijah (October, 2011)


-Follow the recipe exactly, but make the arancini “bite-size.” These can be pre-made and reheated in the oven at 275 degrees for ten minutes before serving if necessary.

NOTE: If these delicious things were a cocktail, they would be the equivalent of a “panty-dropper.” You would be surprised how excited people get over fried cheese nuggets.

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