Why Have You Not Tried These Three Delicious Recipes Asia is a vast continent. With so many different cultures, languages and cuisines. For those of us that yearn to learn more about the plethora of culinary cultures, you need not look any further. If you haven’t tried dishes that both …
Category: Around the World Recipes
Rhubarb Ginger Sauce When most people think of rhubarb and what to pair with rhubarb, they immediately think of strawberries. While pairing rhubarb with strawberries is popular in the USA, pairing rhubarb with ginger is popular in Britain. This was one pairing I simply had …
Artichoke, Chicken and Pasta Bake Dish
If you like a bake dish with lots of flavor, then Artichoke, Chicken and Pasta Bake Dish is calling your name. Made with marinated artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, left-over chicken breast and kalamata olives. Left-over grilled or roasted chicken breast can be substituted for the deli rotisserie chicken. A fantastic cheese white sauce is made, poured over all and then baked. Super Delicious!
Artichokes are either something you really, really like or you simply say, “No thanks, I’ll pass.” Whenever I mention artichokes, the same questions come up. What are they exactly? How do you prepare them? How do you eat them? and What’s the best way to purchase them? Today we’re going to have a “crash course” in artichokes. The information shared today comes primarily from a book called: “The New Food Lover’s Companion.” It’s a fantastic cooking guide and I use it quite frequently. A great source to learn the meaning of any cooking term.
What is an Artichoke?
This edible thistle dates back to the ancient Romans as food of nobility. The word “Artichoke” is shared by three unrelated plants: the globe artichoke, sunchoke and Chinese artichoke. The globe artichoke is considered the true artichoke. Today, there are over 50 varieties grown around the world. In the United States, almost the entire crop is cultivated in California’s mid-coastal region. In Europe, France, Italy and Spain grow this illustrious vegetable.
How Artichokes Grow
The artichoke is actually a flower bud, with leaves that are rough and petal-like. Artichokes are from the large thistle-family plant. The buds grow on stalks, each of which has a primary bud at its tip and two or three smaller buds lower down. Below that are several very small buds, which are marketed as baby or cocktail artichokes. Fresh globe artichokes are available year-round. The peak season from March through May. They range in size from jumbo to baby. Artichokes are great for stuffing, sautéing, frying, roasting or marinating.
Purchase artichokes that have a tight leaf formation, deep green in color and are heavy for there size. The leaves should squeak when pressed together. Avoid those that look dry or have split leaves or heavy browning. In general, the smaller the artichoke the more tender it will be. The rounder the artichoke is, the larger the heart. Artichokes are best used the day of purchase. Wash artichokes just before cooking.
In A Name
Processed artichoke hearts and bottoms are available canned or jarred. They come canned in brine or oil and jarred in an oil marinade. Artichoke hearts are also available frozen. Labeling terms can be confusing. Artichoke crowns for example, are actually artichoke bottoms. The term hearts and bottoms are sometimes used interchangeably. In actuality, the heart is a portion of fleshy artichoke base including the attached tender pale leaves. The bottom portion is the entire base sans leaves.
How To Prepare Artichokes
To prepare whole artichokes, slice off the stem to form a flat base. Snap off the tough outer leaves closest to the stem. Trim about 1/2 inch off the pointed top. Use a scissors to snip off the prickly tips of the outer leaves. Rub all cut edges with lemon to prevent discoloration. It’s easier to remove the fuzzy choke with a teaspoon after cooking. Soak artichokes in acidulated water for an hour before cooking to improve color and tenderness.
Cook artichokes in stainless steel, glass, or enamelware only. This will help to prevent discoloration and off-flavors. Artichokes are done when the bottoms can be pierced with the top of a knife. Cooked artichokes may be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
How To Eat A Whole Artichoke
When eating a whole artichoke, break off the leaves one by one and draw the base of the leaf through your teeth. This will remove the soft portion and then discard the remainder of the leaf. The individual leaves may be dipped into melted butter or any number of sauces. After the leaves have been removed, the inedible prickly choke is cut or scraped away and discarded. What remains is the tender base, which is now accessible to devour. Artichokes contain small amounts of potassium and vitamin A. They contain absolutely no fat.
Artichoke Recipe on Tap
- Penne with Artichokes
- Greek Orzo Salad
- Shrimp and Artichoke Alfredo Casserole
- Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip