Yeah, artichokes are in season or at least they are affordable right now. Do you remember the first time you ever tasted an artichoke?
Artichokes are a perennial and the flower head if left to dry out bears a purple spiky flower thatl shoots out from the inside The flower head is the part that we so enjoy. Usually though the artichoke itself never gets a chance to flower, we eat it instead.
Artichokes can be a bit tricky to cook and eat.
This photo shows the artichoke cooked but not cored. The purple leaves are tender and edible but just underneath is the fuzzy choke and that needs to be removed to reveal the heart.
You can remove the lower stem before steaming or after slicing down the middle and cleaning.
This is the first time that I have prepared artichokes sliced down the middle. Normally I steam them and then slice off the top leaves and then scoop out the fuzzy choke leaving all the leaves intact. That way can spread the leaves and add a stuffing or just pull the leaves off and dip them in your favorite dipping sauce.
After having chosen the slice down the middle technique I found that I prefer the other method. They are much easier to eat. You gotta go with what you’ve chosen once you have sliced them down the middle so here is this method. I am not saying they are any less tasty. Artichokes are delish any way you choose to eat them.
Recipe adapted from In The French Style
2 large fresh artichokes
1/4 cup black olives, chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped or fresh tomatoes
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 tablespoon grated sharp provolone (or any cheese you like)
2 cloves garlic minces
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the over to 375 degrees. Start by steaming the artichokes for at least 20 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile peel and remove the woody part of the asparagus stalks but leaving them whole. In another pan heat enough water to steam the asparagus. Steam asparagus about 4-7 minutes to desired softness. Remove and allow to cool. Leaving the top inch and a half of the asparagus in tact, chop the rest of the stalk.
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a saute pan. Add the chopped asparagus stalk, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives and garlic. Saute until asparagus starts to brown, remove from pan and place in a mixing bowl. Add the bread crumbs and cheese, mix well. Fill the prepared artichokes with the stuffing. Place the reserved asparagus tips, two for each half on the top. Drizzle with the lemon sauce and bake for 20 minutes until heated and cheese has melted.
Lemon Drizzle Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons non dairy butter
1 clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
chopped garlic chives
salt and pepper to taste.
Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a slow boil. Allow to simmer 3-4 minutes.