Sunday, August 1, 2010


I love them!

Beyond my favorite vegetable, they are also one of my favorite foods.  Their mild, yet distinct taste is almost buttery in flavor.  Eaten with toppings or without, these delectable flowers are a treat.  Beyond the common uses steamed and in spinach artichoke dip, there are many ways to enjoy are a few ideas.

Grilled Artichoke Quarters After steaming 2 artichokes(but leaving them slightly underdone, quarter them, remove the choke and toss into a gallon bag.  Add a splash or two of balsamic and a splash or two of olive oil.  Sprinkle in some salt, some garlic powder or finely diced garlic, and some pepper or hot sauce.  Close bag and distribute ingredients.  Marinate for 30 minutes plus, up to a day.  Grill to heat right before serving.  No dip is required because they have marinated in it!

Goat Cheese Artichoke Leaves For a fancy appetizer, first steam a large, well trimmed artichoke until tender.  Take off all of the leaves and lay out on a platter.  Mix equal parts of sour cream and a soft goat cheese.  Put a small dollop or canelle or spoonful of the mixture on the edible end of each leaf and sprinkle with finely chopped roasted red bell pepper.  Enjoy!

Fried Stuffed Artichoke Hearts purchase canned artichoke hearts, not marinated.  Allow to drain well.  gently remove the very center of each one, replacing it with a sliver of brie wrapped in prosciutto.  Dredge each piece in egg and panko bread crumbs twice, allowing to rest at least 10 minutes before re-dipping.  Deep fry until crispy.

Toss with Pasta  While a pain, the end product is well worth it: with a sharp knife, carefully trim the leaves and choke away, leaving only the heart.  Thinly slice the remaining heart.  Saute sliced garlic, chopped onion and the artichoke hearts in olive oil.  Boil your favorite pasta.  Throw in some crisped bacon, rendered pancetta, or prosciutto slices into the sauce if desired.  Toss the pasta in the sauce and throw in fresh tomatoes.  Enjoy!

I hope I have inspired you to take a new look at artichokes!

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