Meal planning is a big thing at our house. Our weekend meals can take hours, days even, to plan. Several things are taken into consideration; like who's coming and what they will or won't eat. Unlike most people that need to plan around vegetarian guests we often find ourselves planning around "meat eaters." By this I mean people that don't consider the dinner a dinner until they've been served a nice portion of meat.
Me...I can take it or leave it. Some of my best creations have been vegetarian in nature and some of my all time favorites have leaned heavily on the meat side. When planning dinners hubby and I concur that if we are doing a meat main course the appetizer should focus on veggies and vice versa.
So for our purposes the Fillet Bruschetta recipe below is the perfect meat appetizer before something like Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes. Either way after hours of planning the "perfect" meal we always find ourselves heading off to Whole Foods Markets to pick up the "perfect" ingredients.
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Fillet Bruschetta with Artichoke Pesto & Spinach
(adapted from gourmet magazine)
(click for printable recipe)
2 1/2-pound trimmed fillet of beef, tied
6-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove
1/8 cup white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Italian bread, toasted lightly
bunch of baby spinach
Parmesan curls formed with a vegetable peeler
Preheat the oven to 500°F. Pat the fillet dry, season it with salt and pepper, and in a small roasting pan roast it in the middle of the oven for 23 minutes, or until it registers 125°F. on a meat thermometer for rare meat. Transfer the fillet to a cutting board and let it cool. The fillet may be roasted 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.
In a blender purée the artichoke hearts and the garlic with the vinegar, the oil, and salt and pepper to taste and transfer the purée to a bowl. The purée may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled.
Spread each slice of toast with some of the artichoke purée, top the purée with some of the spinach, and divide the fillet, sliced very thin, among the bread. Top each one with some Parmesan curls.
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