- Publish Date
- Friday, 24 February 2017, 1:09PM
- By Allyson Gofton
Artichokes, in season now, are a favourite food in many Mediterranean countries, where once cooked, individual leaves are pulled out and dipped into melted butter or mayonnaise before eating. With their choke removed they are often stuffed and baked or, when harvested young, they are cooked and marinated in oil and served as a nibble or for tapas etc. I recall how in the markets of Istanbul, sellers would sit by mounds of artichokes and, with a vicious looking knife in hand, would trim the artichoke ready for the pot. Once prepared they were placed into buckets of acidulated water (water with lemon juice) and buyers would simply come along and pick out the size and number required. This recipe uses pre-cooked and marinated artichokes, readily available either from the serve-over deli, or bottled and found in the pickles section of the supermarket.
- Buy artichokes that have a fresh bright colour, tightly closed leaves, and feel solid.
- They bruise easily and are best eaten within 2-3 days of purchase.
- Store them in a vented bag in the refrigerator.
- To prepare, remove the toughest leaves close to the base of the artichoke and trim the stem to about 3 cm long. I like to trim the pointed ends of the leaves. With large artichokes, remove the stem completely so the artichoke will sit flat on its base.
- The choke needs to be removed, bit this can be done after cooking if the artichokes. is being boiled. If being stuffed and baked, remove the choke before stuffing.
- The choke is the furry flower part sitting on top of the heart. The heart is the firm base plate and is the best eating.
- Add a good squeeze of lemon juice to the cooking water to prevent browning when cooking.
- Artichokes are cooked when you can pull one of the outer leaves easily away from the bulb. Allow around 20 minutes for your average-sized bulb, or less for baby sizes.
- Serve cooked artichokes with melted butter, hollandaise or a vinaigrette.
An unusual Italian flavoured paste for making crostini or stirring through pasta.
- 2 bulbs garlic
- 200 grams artichokes (packed in oil)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- ½ cup lightly packed grated parmesan cheese
- 6-8 tablespoons olive oil
- Drizzle the garlic bulbs with olive oil. Wrap in foil and cook at 180°C for 45 minutes or until a skewer can easily be inserted. Cool before halving.
- Squeeze the pulp of the two garlic bulbs into a food processor and add the artichokes, dill and parmesan cheese.
- With the motor running gradually, pour down sufficient oil to make a smooth paste. Season with pepper and salt. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.
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