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Back to the Kitchen: For the Love of Artichoke

Posted By Karen Young On March 6, 2013 @ 12:30 am In Eat,Entrees,My Daily Find,Recipes,spotlight,Vegetables | No Comments

gwenapronBY GWEN KENNEALLY

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Artichokes are multi-faceted and good for you.

The artichoke is a perennial in the thistle group of the sunflower family and is believed to be a native of the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. In full growth, the plant spreads to cover an area about six feet in diameter and reaches a height of three to four feet. The “vegetable” that we eat is actually the plant’s flower bud. If allowed to flower, the blossoms measure up to seven inches in diameter and are a beautiful and vibrant violet-blue color.

The artichoke is full of anti-oxidants to help overall health, but it is known to lower cholesterol and it can help balance blood glucose levels. It improves liver health and aids in digestion. Studies done with artichoke leaf extract have found that they induce apoptosis (cell death) and reduce cell proliferation in many different forms of cancer, including prostate cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer.

Enough of that— they are also a very sexy and tasty vegetable! I grew up with them a couple of times a week and still serve them often to my family and friends. Here are some brand new recipes and a few favorite standbys!

Recipes serve 4.

Roasted Artichoke

4 whole large artichokes

2 lemons, halved

4 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

Using a serrated knife cut off the stem of the artichoke where it meets the base. Turn the artichoke around and cut off 1-inch of the top. Rub each artichoke with a cut lemon so they don’t discolor.  Tear off 4 large square pieces of heavy-duty foil. Rub a few drops of olive oil on the foil and place an artichoke stem side down. Stick a clove of garlic into the center and push down an inch or so. Sprinkle over 1/4 tsp of salt. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the top. Finish by squeezing the half lemon over the top. The lemon juice will “wash” the salt and olive down in between the leaves. Gather up the corners of the foil and press together on top to tightly seal the artichoke. You can wrap in a second piece of foil if you don’t think you have a tight enough seal. Repeat with the other artichokes. Place in a roasting pan and bake at 425 degrees F. for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let rest for 20 minutes before unwrapping and serving. Can be eaten hot, warm, or chilled.

Cream Of Artichoke Soup

1 large artichoke

1 lemon

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2-teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4-cup butter

4 cups heavy cream

Pinch of salt, fresh ground pepper to taste

Cut stem at bottom of artichoke. Cut the top third of the artichoke and snip off remaining sharp tips of leaves with kitchen shears. Gently pull the leaves of the artichoke to spread them out a bit. In a large saucepan place artichokes in with 3 cups water and juice of one lemon. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium and cook for about 45 minutes until very tender. Drain the artichokes and cool down with water. When cool enough to handle cut artichokes in half lengthwise. Remove and discard the fuzzy choke part. Place artichokes in a blender or food processor until very smooth. In a large soup pan sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes in the butter over medium heat. When the garlic is golden add artichoke puree. Whisk in the heavy cream and salt and pepper. When at the desired temperature serve.

San Francisco Style Crab and Sourdough Stuffed Artichokes

6 tablespoons butter

1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1 large finely chopped red onion

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

8 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crust less sourdough bread

8 ounces crabmeat

4 large artichokes (each about 1 pound)

Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Sauté until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and cool completely. Mix in breadcrumbs and crabmeat. Season stuffing with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 375°. Cut off top third of each artichoke; discard. Cut off stem. Pull out yellow and small purple-tipped leaves from center. Using melon baller, scoop out fibrous choke. Gently pull leaves outward from center until leaves open slightly. Pack stuffing into each artichoke cavity and between first and second center layers of leaves, mounding slightly. Place artichokes in a Pyrex baking dish. Add enough water to come 3/4 inch up sides of dish. Cover with foil. Bake artichokes until outer leaf pulls away easily, about 1 hour 15minutes.

Morocco Style Stuffed Artichokes

1 cup brown rice, cooked

12 large artichoke bottoms uncooked

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, minced

1 pound lean ground beef

1 medium garlic clove, minced

½ cup chopped cilantro

½ teaspoon sweet paprika

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 large tomatoes, chopped

4 garlic cloves, sliced

1/4-teaspoon turmeric

Using a melon baller, remove chokes and small purple leaves from centers of artichoke hearts. Rub with a cut lemon and put in a bowl of water. Heat 3-tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet, add onion and cook over medium-low heat 4 or 5 minutes. Add the beef and sauté, stirring to crumble meat, about 4 minutes or until meat changes color. Remove from heat. Add garlic, cilantro, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add rice. Mix well. Sprinkle artichoke bottoms with salt and pepper. Spoon stuffing into artichoke bottoms. Spoon remaining tablespoon oil into a Dutch oven or a Pyrex pan. Add artichokes add tomatoes, sliced garlic, turmeric a pinch of salt and pepper and 1-cup water to pan. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat about 30 minutes or until are tender.

Artichoke Frittata

1 cup canned artichoke hearts in water

6 eggs

1/2cup half-and-half

1/4-teaspoon salt

1/8-teaspoon pepper

1/8-teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Spread artichokes in 4 well-greased individual au gratin dishes or 1 8-inch soufflé dish. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top. In bowl beat eggs with half-and-half, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour mixture over artichokes & cheddar. Top with Parmesan. 

Bake at 350°F until frittata is puffy and lightly browned and center feels firm (about 20 minutes). Serve at once.

Chilean Sea Bass with Lemon Caper Artichoke Sauce

8 tablespoons of butter

½ cup white wine

3 tablespoons capers

1/2 cup of vegetable stock

Juice of 4 lemons

Zest of 1 lemon

2 cups non-marinated artichoke hearts

Salt and Pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 fillets of Chilean Sea Bass (approx. 2 lb.) with skin, if possible

Preheat your oven to 450°. In a stockpot melt the butter. Whisk together the wine, vegetable stock, capers lemon juice and zest. Add the artichoke hearts and bring to a boil. Let simmer to thicken for a few minutes. In an oven proof sauté (fry) pan and heat the olive oil until its so hot it’s about to smoke. Season the fillets with salt and pepper and add to the hot pan cook them on one side for about 3 minutes and flip them over for another 2 minutes before (9) transferring to the oven for 3-4 minutes. Place on 4 plates and cover with Sauce. Great with roasted vegetables and potatoes.

Artichoke Cakes

2 cans or jars (42 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 red bell pepper, chopped

4 green onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-cup panko

¾ -cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup whipping cream

Juice of 1 small lemon

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Pinch of Salt and pepper, to taste

Splash Worcestershire sauce

Squeeze liquid from artichokes, using paper towels, until artichokes are just slightly moist. Place artichokes in a medium bowl. Add eggs and next 4 ingredients. In a separate bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Add mayonnaise mixture to artichoke mixture; stir gently until thoroughly combined. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Place a large, lightly oiled nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Scoop artichoke mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls; place in skillet, and flatten slightly. Cook 2 to 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden and slightly set. Transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 10 to 12 minutes or until done. Serve with Cajun Rémoulade. Serves 4.

 Cajun Rémoulade

2 cups mayonnaise

2 tablespoons catsup

2 tablespoons Creole mustard or Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, to taste

Juice of one small lemon

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

3 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon paprika

In a small bowl whisk all ingredients together. Makes about 2 cups.

Gwen Kenneally is the owner of Back to the Kitchen, Full Service Catering and Party Planning. She is the co-founder and master baker at Magpie Gourmet Mini Pies.  Check out her websites www.Backtothekitchen.net and  http://magpieminipie.vpweb.com.  Her Sweet and Savory Cookbook is available through AMAZON 

 

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