I miss Italian Oven Café.
For a quick, inexpensive, Italianesque lunch in a contemporary, cleanly designed room, this now-long gone eatery in West Palm's CityPlace did it better than just about anybody. What did it in apparently had nothing to do with the food but with a much-delayed opening that just happened to coincide with the meltdown of the entire world economy.
One of my favorite quickie lunches there was the grilled Tuscan chicken panini, which tweaked the relevant protein with fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato, crispy onion strings, and a subtly tangy artichoke-lemon pesto. After making a batch, I found I liked it even better on pasta, where it complements anything from grilled fish to chicken to vegetables. Not only is it tasty
and versatile, but it's quick, cheap, and easy and leaves only a cutting
board and food processor to clean up.
I still miss the damned
Italian Oven Café's Artichoke-Lemon Pesto
small jar marinated artichoke hearts, trimmed of any tough leaves
t. lemon zest
1 t. lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
T. toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds
½ C. Italian parsley
T. freshly grated Parmesan
¼ to 1/3 C. olive oil (depending on how
loose you like your pesto)
Salt and white pepper to taste
doesn't get any easier than this: Throw everything in the food
processor and whiz until blended. Use as a sandwich spread or toss with
pasta. Serves 2.