The outer leaves of an artichoke are the perfect appetizer-delivery device, cooked until tender then topped with salmon, garlic-mascarpone and crispy fried rutabaga straws. Perfect way to use leftover salmon in something nice.
See Notes after the recipe for why rutabaga straws are my new favorite thing.
Makes about 30 leaves
1 large rutabaga
Flavorless high heat frying oil
4 medium artichokes
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Ground black pepper
1 small garlic clove (or half a larger one) see notes
2 Tablespoons minced parsley
1. Make the rutabaga straws:
Heat about 1.5 inches of oil in a wide skillet over medium high.
Use a sharp knife to peel the skin from the rutabaga. Grate the rutabaga using the grating disk on a food processor (easier) or the large holes of a box grater.
The oil is ready when one piece of rutabaga sizzles quickly but not aggressively in the oil. When it's ready, add the rutabaga pieces (in batches if needed) and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 2-4 minutes.
Drain the rutabaga straws on paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt while they're still hot.
2. Cook the artichoke leaves:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
While you wait for the water to boil, carefully remove the large leaves from the outer layers of each artichoke. I say "carefully" because you want to snap them off as close to the base as possible, to preserve the tender meat at the base end of each leaf. You can discard the smallest leaves from the stem and outermost layer of the artichoke that don't have meat at the base. Stop when you get to the tender light-green leaves close to the heart.
When the water is boiling, drop the leaves in and cook for 8-12 minutes, until the meat is tender and delicious (test by tasting a leaf). Strain the leaves onto paper towels to dry in a single layer.
3. Finish the dish:
Combine the mascarpone, salt and pepper in a bowl. Use a microplane (see notes) to grate the garlic into the mascarpone mixture. Stir everything together to incorporate.
Dollop about a teaspoonful of the garlic-mascarpone onto the base of each artichoke leaf (you might not use all of it. Save the rest for a great dip with just about anything). Press a ~1-inch flake of salmon into the garlic-mascarpone on each leaf. Sprinkle everything with parsley and top each leaf with a few rutabaga straws.
Eat by scraping the tender artichoke meat and toppings off with your teeth.
I LOVE these rutabaga straws! They are crunchy, slightly sweet and slightly salty. And they're actually really easy. In making this dish I've realized I don't cook nearly enough rutabaga. That's going to change.
Whenever we cook a salmon fillet for dinner, it's delicious. And we never finish the whole fillet. And I think "this was so good, there are 100 things I could do with these leftovers!" And inevitably, somehow, eating that leftover salmon is never quite as appealing as I thought it would be. Succulent, just-perfectly cooked salmon is a miracle of deliciousness in its simplicity. But the leftovers, all packed up in the cold, plastic fridge, always seem to be just a pale reflection of their former glory. (Is this just me?) Anyhoo, this recipe is one fancy way to love your salmon leftovers. Your guests will oooh and aaah. And you'll think, "yes, that was a delicious salmon, wasn't it?" Mission accomplished.
Garlic cloves come in all shapes and sizes, so I'm very self-conscious about the fact that "1 small garlic clove (or half a larger one)" is a very imprecise amount to call for. When I created this, I used a full, fat garlic clove for a full 8-ounce container of mascarpone. But of course, the finished recipe only calls for half that amount of mascarpone. So this is how I call for half of the garlic I actually used. Bottom line: taste as you go, please.
Speaking of garlic, this recipe calls for using a microplane to grate the garlic into the mascarpone. If you haven't discovered this technique yet, you need to run right out and get yourself a microplane so you can start! (Or just let the Amazon fairies deliver it to your door. I'm including a link.) The point of this is to completely blend the garlic into the mascarpone in a way that mincing can never quite achieve. You could also use a garlic press, but they're a little more of a hassle to clean, plus a microplane can do multiple jobs, so you have fewer tools taking up space.
Full credit and props to Lindsay-Jean Hard at Food52 for the idea of artichoke leaves as an appetizer delivery device. Genius!
This recipe was originally created for our Series of Unfortunate Recipes, inspired by the foods in the Lemony Snicket books and Netflix series. (Don't worry - this dish is delicious. It's the story that's unfortunate.)