Saturday, August 7, 2010
Fresh from the field, artichokes grow well in a cool marine environment. One plant will produce a dozen chokes, not all at the same time.
When you purchase them, you'll discover that 70% of the fruit is not edible at all. The choke's outer leaves are tough and need to be discarded. What you have left is the heart and the stem.
Artichokes are a magic food.
You will need to pull out most of the outer leaves, cut it in half length wise, scrape out the fuzzy middle, and drop the choke and peeled stems in a pot of boiling water with two, three slices of lemons for five minutes. Drain and set aside.
Prepare the filling: for each half, you'll need two spoonfuls of bread crumbs, a tablespoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of chopped parsley, minced garlic, and salt and pepper to your liking.
Arrange the artichokes halves on a baking dish. Spoon the stuffing in the middle of each half. Drizzle more olive oil and slide the dish in a hot oven, 425F, for ten minutes. Watch. Do not allow the filling to burn.
Serve hot, one half per person, as an appetizer, or as a side dish.
You'll pull a leaf out, use it as a spoon to eat the filling, scrape the soft part of the leaf against your front teeth, and discard the rest.
The tongue and teeth will find is a tiny scraping of edible fiber at the bottom of each leaf that will surprise your senses.
You won't satisfy your hunger here, just tease it a bit, for the main course.
What we have done is to temper the bitterness by boiling, baking and adding companion savories. What looked inedible has become a rare treat by the magic you provided in the kitchen.
A glass of Riesling or Pinot Gris would help the mood.