Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Artichoke Treat

“Where did you find ARTICHOKES?” I asked the man, and I could see him wondering if he needed to back away from this wild-eyed woman who was staring at the big bag in his basket.

Well, they weren’t really very nice artichokes, kind of scrawny, kind of past-the-sell-date look to them, but . . . artichokes. I adore artichokes.

When my husband was invited to the family house for the first time, to have dinner, my mother served artichokes. My husband, to this day, thinks it was a test to see if he knew how to eat them. I just laugh . . . I don’t THINK it was a test. We ate artichokes all the time.

Here is how you fix artichokes:

With a sharp knife you cut off about an inch of the top, which will include a lot of leaves, and the long stem at the bottom. With kitchen scissors, you cut off the sharp points on the remaining leaves.

You fill a pot with water, put the artichokes in, bottom down, and pour a little bit of olive oil right into the center of all their leaves. Add a little salt to the water, bring it to a full boil and then turn down the heat and let them simmer for 45 – 60 minutes. The artichoke is done when you can reach in and pull a leaf off fairly easily.

(Some people say to cook them less, but I hate a tough artichoke).

You can serve the artichoke either as an hors d’oeuvre, where everyone grabs a leaf and dips into something (be sure to provide a bowl for the leaves) or as a first course, where everyone has his/her own artichoke. You can put a variety of dips in the center of the table (melted butter is classic, oil and vinegar dressing is great, and mayonnaise is also classic.)

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Eating the artichoke:

You pluck a leaf off the artichoke, holding the tip of the leaf in your hand, and dip it into something delicious, then scrape the “meat” off the base of the artichoke leaf with your teeth.

When the leaves start getting thin and insubstantial, you get a sharp little knife, take all the remaining leaves off, and LIGHTLY scrape off the “choke” at the center of the leaf. I emphasize LIGHTLY because the great bonus of the artichoke is the heart, which is underneath those chokes. Once the chokes and tiny leaves are gone, you can cut the heart into small pieces and dip each one . . . sheer bliss.

For me, an artichoke is an excuse to make up a batch of aioli. Start to finish, last night with the blender it took me ten minutes – and that was spending two or three minutes gathering the ingredients. Here you can find the instructions for making Mayonnaise, Aioli and Rouille using the best olive oil and knowing exactly what healthy ingredients are in it, no preservatives, and it keeps in the refrigerator. It also makes great gifts.

So yummy, so healthy and SO so easy!

May 22, 2007 - Posted by | Cooking, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Recipes, Shopping, Uncategorized

3 Comments »

  1. Aumisngly, I visited Mom for dinner yesterday, and she had fixed……artichokes! Hadn’t even read your blog yet. She had a mayo/hot sauce combo dip (!) and I had melted butter. HUGE globes – we were so full after eating them that we couldn’t even eat the side salads. And they were tasty! Yummmm….

    Comment by SparklePlenty | May 23, 2007 | Reply

  2. I love artichokes, and fix them the way you do, except I squeeze a half lemon into the water, and throw the remaining piece in , and sometimes add some chunked garlic pieces. I like them best with mayonnaise.

    I get the frozen hearts, or now and then buy baby artichokes and steam/boil them and toss them with cooked pasta and olive oil and top with parmesan.

    Lovely.

    Comment by riannan | May 24, 2007 | Reply

  3. Sparkle – dying laughing, and yum, big globular chokes . . . mine were the real Italian kind, thin and scrawny, but tasty.

    Riannan – oh, lemon juice and lemon . . . I will have to try that! And pasta cartuccio/oglio! Yummmmmm. Wish you lived near by!

    Comment by intlxpatr | May 24, 2007 | Reply


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