March 13, 2015
I’m still waiting for the globe artichokes in my garden, but did manage to harvest four big beauties at Costco. They were round and bulbous with snug fitting leaves…mine are not quite there yet.
Artichokes are technically thistles — prickly pains in the ass, but that ouch is worth that incredible flavor. I have memories of that earthy goodness when my mom prepared artichokes with my Italian grandmother’s recipe. The steamy acidic water mixed with the garlic and herbs always made for a warm welcome.
As I was prepping this batch for lunch with a girlfriend the scent alone transported me back to those memories in my mother’s kitchen. This recipe is easy — basically boiling the artichoke in a pot filled with aromatics. However, my grandmother taught my mom that you always use the stems, either to stuff the inside or cook alongside. I think many people lop off those stems and discard them to the compost bin. Keep and use those stems! They have a similar flavor to the artichoke heart, just a tad more toothsome.
I like to pair these boiled beauties with creamy hummus. You won’t hear me say this often, but move away from the mayo — the artichokes and hummus make for a great spring appetizer or special lunch date.
Nanny’s Boiled Artichokes
Serves 2 or 4 as an appetizer
2 globe artichokes, with stems
1 large juicy lemon or 2 regular lemons, cut in half
1 head of garlic, cut in half
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup kosher salt
1 bunch of parsley
Prepare the artichokes by cutting the stem of the artichoke so the flower has a nice even bottom and will sit straight on a plate — a sharp knife is key. Next, with kitchen scissors cut off the pointy ends of the leaves. Lastly, slice off the top of the artichoke so you have a flat top. Chop up the stems and add them into the pot with the other goodies.
After you finish this step rub the entire surface of the artichoke with half a lemon. Place the artichokes in a pot where they will fit snuggly and squeeze the rest of the lemon juice into the pot over the artichoke. Add the juiced lemon halves, garlic, olive oil salt and parsley to the pot and cover with water.
Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for one hour. You can test for doneness by pulling off one of the leaves at about 45 minutes into the cooking process. If it comes off easily the artichoke is done. The smaller the artichoke the less time it will take to cook.
Drain the artichoke of excess water and fish out the stems. Serve with hummus or dip of choice. Another great dip is to mix 1 minced garlic clove, 3 tablespoons of melted butter, a pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon juice for a buttery option.