Back to the Kitchen: For the love of Artichokes

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BY GWEN KENNEALLY

Growing in Northern California my family ate artichokes year round. Most of my family fought for the heart, but I always loved the ritual of pulling the leaves between my teeth. My daughter and I often share a piece of fish and an artichoke for a perfect supper. Artichokes came to America with the Italian immigrants and found a happy home in the near-Mediterranean climate of California.

As “ethnic” fare, artichokes took their time catching on outside the Golden State. My frugal Italian Grandmother used to stuff them with anything left over. In this column,  I have included a couple of my favorite stuffed artichoke recipes, but you can use your imagination and create your family’s  perfect version. I can’t tell you how many Los Angeles transplants I have turned onto artichokes! Fresh are always better (see the soup recipe for instructions on steaming), but they are available in cans (non marinated) and jars are usually marinated. As you can see I prefer to marinate my own.

Marinated Artichoke Hearts

24 small to medium artichokes, trimmed and steamed

1 cup each red wine vinegar and olive oil

4 -cloves fresh garlic, sliced

3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Steam the artichokes and remove leaves. You can eat these with melted butter, mayonnaise or aioli. 
Remove the choke and trim as desired. You can leave the chokes whole or cut them in half vertically through the stem. Mix together wine vinegar, oil, garlic powder and parsley. Add artichokes. Stir, cover and refrigerate. Better on the second day. Will keep several weeks in the refrigerator; stir occasionally.

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.

Zely’s Famous Artichoke Dip

8-ounce package cream cheese

1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 1/2 cup sour cream

1/2-cup mayo

1 cans non-marinated artichokes (coarsely chopped)

3 Cloves garlic

1Tablespoon chopped dill

Salt

Pepper

Few dashes Worchester sauce

Throw it all in a bowl mix it up. Put in baking dish and cook uncovered at 350 until it is bubbly and brown (about 35 minutes.) Serve with crackers, crusty bread or crudity. I must admit my favorite way to serve it is using a small round loaf of bread and turn it in to a bread bowl by cutting off the top of the loaf and scooping out the bread (save it for dipping.) Just pour the dip into the bread bowl and again bake until bubbly and golden brown. For larger gatherings (This is such a hit that I would do this for anything over 4!!!!!) double the recipe and use a large round loaf. I also buy a little extra bread and slice it as it goes fast.

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.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.