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Artichokes, ham perk up waffles.

While traveling in Paris, I popped into a wine bar for a quick afternoon snack and glass of France's delicious wine. On the bar menu was a small plate suggestion of ham and artichoke waffles. Or at least that's what I thought I was reading -- "jambon de Paris et artichaut gaufres.'' Needless to say, I was instantly intrigued and had to try it.

A plate of waffle sections topped with a fresh, bright artichoke spread, cooked ham and fresh parmesan cheese was served. Oh my! I practically moaned in appreciation.

Now it's true that it could have been the dreamy location, or the delightful French Bordeaux, but I couldn't stop thinking about using a waffle as a platform for a savory delight. Waffles shouldn't just be trapped in a bunch of breakfast recipes. Without its sweet toppings, the waffle is a perfect base to build a savory appetizer. Besides, waffles hailed from wafers, which are basically crackers, right?

You can use any waffle recipe here, as long as it's unsweetened. Even a box mix will do. The true genius in this recipe is the artichoke spread, fresh parmesan cheese and the baked, shaved ham. Plop that on anything and it's delicious, but atop a yeasty waffle, it's truly spectacular.

I can't wait to hear what you think. Let me hear from you at alicia@kitchenscoop.com.

Artichoke and Ham Waffle Appetizer

Start to finish: 10 minutes, not including cooking waffles

Yield: Serves 8 to 16 as an appetizer

1 can (15 ounces) artichoke hearts packed in water, drained well

Juice from one lemon

1 clove fresh garlic

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup freshly shaved parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

4 large cooked waffles (see Cook's Note)

2 ounces shaved baked ham

Combine the artichokes, lemon juice, garlic, cream cheese and parmesan in a food processor, and pulse until well combined and spreadable.

Cut the waffles into quarters. Divide the cream cheese mix among the waffle quarters equally. Top with equal portions of ham and a shaved piece of parmesan, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Cook's Note:Use any plain waffle recipe you would like. For a terrific yeasty waffle recipe, check out the Famous Raised Waffles on www.kitchenscoop.com.

Approximate values per quarter: 96 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated), 24 mg cholesterol, 4 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, trace dietary fiber, 193 mg sodium.

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Title Annotation:Living
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Feb 8, 2015
Words:402
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