Rolling on the River

No Wake Cafe


A BRUSCHETTA BY ANY OTHER NAME: If you were lucky enough to be at the last Tucci Benucch wine dinner you'll recognize chef Bill Eisenmann's yummy appetizer. When I have extra artichoke leaves, like you will if you try this recipe, I steam them, dip them in a lemon juice and olive-oil vinaigrette, and eat them in the kitchen. Which is as good a reason as any to try this dish.

Fresh Artichoke Scampi

* 4 fresh artichokes

* 1 loaf Italian or French bread

* 4 oz. oven-dried or sun-dried tomatoes

* 1 medium onion, chopped

* 1/2 cup Pinot Grigio (Eisenmann used Lugarotti's) or other white wine

* 1/2 cup chicken stock, bouillon,
or consommé

* Parmesan cheese

Aglio Oil

* 1/2 cup butter, softened

* 2 tbsp. garlic, finely chopped

* 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped

* 2 tsp. thyme

* 2 tbsp. lemon juice (one lemon)

* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil,
chilled until almost firm

* salt and pepper to taste

1) To make aglio oil whip aglio ingredients together until well incorporated.

2) Trim artichokes, reserving bottoms only. Slice into quarters, lengthwise.

3) Bring kettle of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Blanch artichokes in salted water for one minute.

4) Make bruschetta by slicing bread crosswise into slabs. Brush with aglio oil and grill until lightly browned.

5) In a sauté pan, lightly brown half of the remaining aglio oil. Add artichoke bottoms, onions, and oven-dried tomatoes; sauté until slightly softened and browned.

6) Add wine and chicken stock; heat through and reduce slightly. Stir in the remaining aglio oil and simmer 2-3 minutes until flavors are blended and sauce is thick.

7) Spoon artichoke mixture over bruschetta.

8) Garnish with Parmesan and serve.

BRAVA, BRAVO: Lots is going on at Backstage at BRAVO!, the newish Hennepin Avenue restaurant and bar. They're opening their rooftop bar and grill Monday, June 16, and to celebrate there will be an open raw bar, tour of the facilities, wine and beer tastings, and entertainment from a number of singers and dancers performing excerpts from popular recent musicals like Chicago and 42nd Street. You can be part of the opening-night festivities for a mere $10--and all proceeds go to the Minneapolis Foundation, to provide grants and scholarships for musical theater.

Cornbread Harris will also perform that night, and now BRAVO! has hired the Twin Cities bluesman for a permanent engagement every Tuesday to Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight. To make BRAVO! even more irresistible there's also now a "Happy as a Clam Hour" from 4:30 to 6, with free homemade potato crisps and fancy olives, and a 25 percent discount on all shellfish, including shrimp and lobster. If you had told me a year ago that Minneapolis would be a mecca for sucking back perfectly fresh oysters while listening to world-class barrelhouse blues I would have laughed in your face, but look who's laughing now. Call 338-0062 for reservations.

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