Tastiest artichoke recipe? Lay it on me....

Never prepared one before, so I need it all: prep, heart removal, steam/grill?, etc…

Lets hear em!

Artichoke basics:

Trim the stem close to the leaves so the thistle will stand up and cut an inch off the top. Cut the thorny tips off all the leaves. Rub the cut surfaces with lemon to avoid browning if you like, but I’ve never seen them brown. Then again, I’ve never prepped them ahead of time.

Steam them until one of the lower leaves pulls out easily (45 minutes to an hour or so) and serve with melted butter, mayonnaise or aioli.

Alternately, I like to drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, dried oregano and red pepper flakes. Tuck some slivered garlic in the leaves and steam.

There’s a great recipe for braised artichokes (you quarter them and remove the fuzzy “choke” before cooking) in Child’s Mastering Volum I. It’s delicious but I’ve made it only twice. It was too much trouble.

Hubby’s fav…another one of his mother’ recipes. In Spain we have artichokes that a harvested before the thistle has a chance to appear. Here rarely can I find them that young, but maybe in other areas(not OH) of the US you can. Look for artichokes with a tight, firm head. Peel the outer leaves back until you get to the pale soft flesh, lop off the top, with a knife gently peel the outer part of the base and the stem. Quarter or eighth (depending on the size) and parboil with a lemon quartered and salted water. Drain and when cooled pass through egg then dredge through flour seasoned to you’re liking, garlic powder, thyme, dill, fennel leaf and salt. Fry in EVOO, and enjoy.

In the south of Spain we use artichokes in paella, soups, etc, the lemon in the water will prevent the artichoke from turning your dish that dark green black color.

After you pull off the leaves and eat what you like of them (pull them between your teeth!) you will find a hairy mess on top of the heart. Use a sharp pairing knife to cut and scrape off the hairy stuff. The heart will be under that. Dip in the butter or aioli and enjoy.

My FIL used to tell his kids that the heart was poisonous. That way he got to eat theirs!

Let us know how it goes…

Brilliant! I wish I’d thought of that with maraschino cherries. They’re just for garnish, kids. The juice is okay, but the cherry itself will put you in the hospital for weeks!

A local restaurant serves their smoky grilled artichokes with a chipotle remoulade for dipping. I was skeptical at first since I’ve always used olive oil, but it’s very good.

Faith Heller Willinger had a great one for Fried Artichokes alla Mattone (Bricked Artichokes)

After you clean the artichoke, you season it and saute’ it in an oversize pan over low heat turning frequently until it begins to soften. Remove it from the pan and allow it to cool enough so you can handle it. Open up the leaves like a flower and add oil to the pan to a depth of about 1/2 inch. Heat up the pan again to medium heat and put the artichoke in open side down. Weight it with brick ( I wrap one in foil ) and fry the sucker until it is crisp.

btw peter, do you know how to eat an artichoke?

Of course. I told him to scrape the leaves between his teeth! [tease.gif]

not sure if it’s in layman’s terms for him

I get babay artichokes here at the Farmer’s Market. In fact, I rarely buy the large ones because they are just such a PITA to clean. The baby artichokes are so easy. I usually just cut them in half and roast them in the oven drizzled with olive oil.

I made this for a friend in college. Years later, she became my wife. My mother got a kick out of my using her artichoke recipe for “such purposes”. “Courting” was the word I think she used.

With that word of encouragement or warning (as the case may be) - - Here’s Mama’s recipe:

2 to 3 artichokes (depending upon size);
1 lemon;
5 to 6 slices sandwich bread (use the Wonder bread that you use for PB&J);
12 to 16 oz. mozzarella (save the mozzarella di bufala for better things; ok to use the industrial mozzarella);
1 egg (chicken - in case you were wondering);
4 tablespoons pecorino Romano (go ahead and substitute Parmesan if you’d like; I prefer the sharper sheep milk cheese for this recipe);
2 to 3 tblsp. olive oil (Extra virgin - is there any other work adding?);
fresh parsley - chopped (about 1 tablespoon);
1 can stewed tomatoes or 4 to 5 skinned, diced Roma tomatoes;
1 cup chicken stock;
2 Idaho Potatoes - peeled and diced.

First, get yourself some artichokes. As Nola said, look for firm, dense bulbs.
Trim the artichoke stem close to the leaves. Use kitchen shears to trim off the pointy tips. As Bob W. stated, trim off the top (he says 1 inch - I say about 1/2 inch).

Place in a pot with about 1 inch of water and squeeze lemon juice on top; toss the lemon into the water.
Steam for about 30 minutes until somewhat soft and you can open the leaves up. You may need to add more water. When soft and the leaves pull out with a slight tug, drain and let cool. You want these to be soft but still have some firmness to them.

Meanwhile, make a mixture of cubed bread (5 to 6 slices), water (1/4 cup) to soften the bread a bit, chopped mozzarella, 1 egg, grated pecorino Romano cheese, about two tablespoons of olive oil, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. This should form a good paste - not too wet and not too dry.

Take the artichoke out of the water and open the center. You should be able to remove the choke (the short bristles in the center) with a spoon.
Stuff the bread-cheese mixture in between the leaves and into the center of the artichoke. You have to spread out the leaves. The artichoke when stuffed will blossom from a baseball size artichoke into a fully developed softball. The idea is that when this is fully cooked, you will pull out a leaf and there will be the stuffing on each leaf.

Place the stuffed artichoke in a casserole dish with 2 to 4 inch sides. Open a can of stewed tomatoes or add skinned and chopped diced Roma tomatoes. Pour 1 cup chicken stock on top along with an extra tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the diced Idaho potatoes along the sides of the artichokes in the chicken stock/tomato mixture.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 to 60 minutes; basting the artichokes with the tomato/chicken broth liquid every 10 minutes or so. If it gets dry, add a little water.
For vegetarians, you can use water instead of the chicken broth. It wll be done when a leaf pulls out fairly easily.

When done, and golden brown on top, you eat by pulling out a leaf, holding the tip, and sliding your teeth across the top and bottom. You will get a bite of the stuffing along with a scraping of the leaf. Discard the leaf after the scraping.

Allow about 1/2 for an appetizer portion and one whole one for an entree.

I would open a Chianti or a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo to serve with this dish.

Pretty much the same as Bob’s recipe except I steam them in water with lemon peel and finish on a hot grill. Unfortunately, I have to use an indoor grill, but a Weber with some wood chips would be better because you’ll get some really nice smoke flavor.