In 1977 I found myself addicted to artichoke nibbles and gainfully employed at KERA-TV in Dallas, Texas working in the engineering department. I like the engineering aspect of television, the daily routine of keeping a television station on the air, suits my mindset. Zen mind, beginners mind. And I had beginners mind.
Every Monday through Friday at exactly 4:30 in the afternoon my cat like trance would be interrupted by the news team of producers and reporters and the director along with the entire production department and studio crew arriving and acquiring the assets it needed to pull off a live evening newscast. It was a ball, every night, good or bad.
To say my peers were a hard drinking bunch would be a gross generalization. To say the place was filled with scrub-faced choirgirls and boys would be an outright lie and, like most places where a pressure cooker atmosphere prevails, the need to blow off steam was a five night a week occurrence.
Dallas being Dallas, a town filled with watering holes was a match made in Heaven. One of our favorite after work hangouts was Chelsea Corner in the Knox neighborhood off McKinney Avenue. At the time it was wooden, lit with candles on every table, a dark, moody, affordable little bar filled with guitar players, poets, writers and an insanely talented chef.
The moment you pulled up a chair you were greeted by a waitperson that immediately set down on the table a small plate of what we called, artichoke nibbles. Irrationally wonderful little squares of rich oven baked goodness of diced artichoke hearts blended with cheddar cheese, eggs, spices and so addicting, we would often make entire meals of these appetizers washed down with far too much cold beer.
As fate would have it my wife Stella (so not her name) ran across a recipe for Artichoke Nibbles in a magazine and we have been making our own ever since. Stella does not remember the name of the magazine and we have added our own touches to the recipe here and there. After all these years we have no idea if our recipe is even close to the original we fell in love with at Chelsea Corner but it is damn good and has remained a regular in our home ever since.
Prep Time: About 40:00
Cooking Time: 30:00
What you need:
A Cutting Board
Sharp Knife or Cleaver
Medium Size Skillet
9 x 9 Baking Dish
1 12-oz jar marinated artichoke hearts
3 cups grated, sharp cheddar cheese
½ large red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 eggs, beaten
¼ cup fine breadcrumbs
1 tsp. oregano
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Drain marinade from the jar of artichoke hearts into a medium skillet.
Heat the oil and sauté onion until clear, about five minutes.
Add garlic cooking a couple of minutes more, then remove from the heat.
While the onion is cooking grab a medium bowl and beat the eggs.
Add the breadcrumbs,
salt, black pepper,
red pepper and oregano.
Fold in the cheese
adding the artichokes and sautéed onion mixture, blending well.
Pour into a 9” square baking dish.
Bake 30:00 at 350 degrees.
Allow to cool briefly before cutting into 1-inch squares. Can also be served cold. May be prepared a day or two ahead and reheated 10 to 12 minutes in a warm oven.