Monday, February 1, 2010

How to Cook an Artichoke. . .

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Growing up in an Italian family (I'm half Italian; hence my love for Italy & all things Italian) it was, and still is, very common for us to have artichokes as our vegetable with dinner - especially Sunday dinners. 
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Just for fun, here is a photo from a trip I took to Seattle in 2001 of artichokes growing on a farm:
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In the United States, most artichokes you find in the grocery store come from Castroville, CA.  They even have an Artichoke Festival there every year!  You will find the best artichokes in season from March - May, but typically you can find them year round.
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You will need:
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- Fresh artichokes
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Oregano
- Garlic flakes
- Salt
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Step 1: Cut off the stem of the artichoke so that it will stand upright.
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Step 2:  Lay artichoke on side and cut off top 1.5" to 2" of leaves. 
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Step 3:  Using kitchen shears, cut off tips of all remaining leaves.
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Your prepared artichoke will look like this:
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Step 4: Place artichoke in pan and fill with a couple of inches of water. Bottom third of artichoke should be immersed in water. You can cook as many artichokes as you can fit in one pan, with all artichokes standing upright.
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Step 5:  Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over artichoke.  I don't measure - just use an amount that seems good to you!  Add oregano, garlic flakes, and salt to top of artichoke.  Again, no need to measure.  Just use a pinch for each artichoke you are cooking.
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Step 6:  Cover pot and simmer on med / high for 35 - 45 minutes.  Check your pot a few times during cooking to make sure that there is still water.  If the water has gotten too low, just add a little more.
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Test artichoke by pulling off a leaf.  If the leaf is easily pulled off, your artichoke is finished!  Remove from pan and serve.
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Eat artichoke, leaf by leaf, working from the outside in.  At the very end you will get to a bunch of small fuzzy leaves.  Scrape those off and you will be at the artichoke heart - this is the best part!  Some people like to serve their artichokes with garlic butter - I usually just use plain butter.
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If anyone tries cooking an artichoke for the first time, I would love to know what you think!
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buon appetito!
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10 comments:

Traci said...

Your post has given me a craving for artichokes. I cook them with the same items you use but I cook them covered in the microwave and we have always dip them in mayo but butter sounds good to me. Beautiful pictures.

The Cooking Photographer said...

I looooove green, and I have to say your blog is awesome! Your pictures are beautiful and full of my favorite color. Sighh so pretty.

Laura

alissa said...

Traci - Mayo does sounds good - I have used a mayo garlic sauce before - it was delish!

Laura - thanks so much! I love your blog - every single recipe you post sounds good (and looks good!) to me!

Messy@ Bungalow'56 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Messy@ Bungalow'56 said...

I will try that again...
I will be bookmarking this. I really had no idea how to cook these. I'm a visual learner, so this is perfect. I also wanted to tell you how wonderful your photography is. These pictures are cookbook quality! Thanks for the great posts.

alissa said...

Messy - I am so glad you liked this post - I was hoping it would help someone! Thanks for stopping by!

Dayka (Life +Style) said...

I used to work for a produce company in CA and we ALWAYS had other growers bringing their products in. It's the thing I miss most, and there was always enough to take home to your family--fresh oranges, strawberries, carrots (with peanut butter packs), watermelons, lettuce, and the list goes on. One of the artichoke growers did a presentation one day with fried hearts served with an aioli and it was DELISH!!! The only reason I miss that job is for the produce!!!

Emily @ {Frilly Details} said...

I love your blog!! Your pictures are stunning. I need to try your method of cooking an artichoke. I made them once but they didn't turn out so great.

ERIN said...

Yum! I love artichoke. I can't wait to try this!

Ott, A said...

Beautiful pics! I especially love the one of them growing in a field, because I'm sure many people don't know how they look growing. and I love your tips.

 

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