It's always great to impress someone special with great hors d'oeuvres. My favorite is this healthy crostini—one of my favorites—with an artichoke purée, plenty of fresh mushrooms, and a little horseradish for an extra kick. It's a delicious, savory little bite that is satisfying but won't fill you up.
Artichoke Purée: Lightly toast pine nuts in a dry saute pan over medium-low heat until golden. If using jarred baby artichoke hearts, strain and rinse well. Using a food processor, pulse all ingredients except parsley and thyme to a coarse puree, stirring as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and fold in fresh herbs. Set aside.
Sautéed Wild Mushrooms: Place a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the minced shallot, tossing until translucent, slightly golden, and beginning to stick. Add the mushrooms, and a splash of the vegetable stock to deglaze. Add another splash of vegetable stock when the first stock addition reduces and the mushrooms begin to stick, being careful not to let it burn. Stir in fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. Saute until the mushrooms have released their liquid and the pan is almost dry, about 4 minutes.Meanwhile, slice the baguette on the bias into slices. Lightly grease a hot griddle pan and grill lightly on both sides.
To assemble, lay out crostini and on each place about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the artichoke puree. Top with sauteed mushrooms and finish with fresh horseradish root, shaved fine using a microplane zester, and drizzle with truffle oil if desired.