Friday, September 08, 2006
The artichoke is a thistle and a native of the Mediterranean. What we eat is actually the plant's flower bud. If they flower they look a lot like the thistle growing on the side of roadways.
Available twelve months a year in season in the spring and fall. Most artichokes grown worldwide are cultivated in Italy and Spain. California provides all of the United States crop.
One of the best ways to eat an artichoke is by stuffing it. First they need to be cleaned and prepared. Use a little lemon juice in water to keep them green. Cut the sticky leaves at the tips and cut the bottom off as shown in the pictures. Pre-boil to almost done.Then clean a hole in the center to hold the stuffing. I use the pre-made stuffings that come in a box adding in a little Italian Bread crumbs and cheese or whatevr additions you like. Several other recipies are below.
There are many recipies to stuff artichokes. An easy way is to use those stove top dressing mixes available in the store cook as stated on the package and place in hole in artichoke, then steam the artichoke in a large pot with a little amount of water until done. Test by pulling a leaf off and seeing if it comes off easy. Add a little Italian dressing drizzled all over the choke and eat it with your favorite wine and cheese. Here is one on the web from scratch - http://experts.about.com/q/Cajun-753/Stuffed-Artichoke.htm You can also experiment with the Dirty Rice mixes and the frozen stuffings to save time in preparing the stuffings.
8 oz Dry white wine
1-1/2 oz White wine vinegar
1 oz Shallots, chopped
1 lb Cold butter, cut into small pieces
Combine the wine, vinegar, and shallots in a saucepan. Let it reduce to very thick. Set the pan over low heat. Add the butter a few pieces at a time, whipping constantly. When each addition is nearly melted, add a few more pieces. Continue until all the butter is added. Add Dill and Saffron or whatever spices you like. Dip artichoke leaves in this sauce then pass through your teeth.