What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

March 9, 2011

In The Kitchen with Sigona’s: Artichokes

In The Kitchen with Sigona’s: Artichokes

If you’re encountering artichokes for the first time, these jumbo gems may seem a bit intimidating, but don’t let the thorns fool you. Artichokes are great and absolutely fun to eat! You can steam them, stuff them and make them into soups.

The Basics

For easy eating, cut off the top of the artichoke leaves to remove the thorns.

Working with Artichokes

  1. Wash under cold water
  2. Remove lower small and discolored leaves
  3. Remove stems if attached
  4. Cut off the top 1/4 of the artichoke and trim any thorns
  5. Keep the trimmed artichokes in acidulated water (one tablespoon lemon juice per quart of water.)
  6. Cook as desired but not in aluminum or cast iron pots.
  7. Eat the tender portion at the bottom of each leaf, the heart, and even the soft interior leaves. The fuzzy interior choke is inedible.

Simple Steamed Artichokes

Place artichokes on a rack an inch or two above boiling water seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon each of olive oil, lemon juice and peppercorns. Cover and steam 25-45 minutes, until tender and leaves pull apart easily.

Alternately place artichoke in microwave safe bowl with ¼ cup water and ½ teaspoon each of olive oil, lemon juice and peppercorns, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high 6-7 minutes. Let stand covered for 5 minutes more.

Paul Sigona’s Baby Artichoke Sauté

Choose the smallest baby artichokes you can find. Trim them down until you reach the smooth, tender leaves. Cut in half and sauté in olive oil and minced garlic until browned and warmed through. They will have a firm and somewhat crispy texture. It’s that easy.

Carmelo’s Creamy Fettuccine with Garlic & Artichokes

This is a recipe I throw together often during artichoke season. The earthy, nutty flavor of the artichokes adds a hearty characteristic to this creamy, lemony comfort dish. – Carmelo Sigona

Ingredients:

  • 1 package fresh Saporito Fine Pasta (found at Sigona’s)
  • 2 large artichokes
  • 1/4 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 TBL heavy cream
  • 2 TBL butter
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (from about 1 small lemon)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Par (or trim) down the artichokes to the cups – this means peel off all the leaves and cut out the fuzzy choke so all you’re left with is the heart.

Cook the heart and stems of the artichokes in boiling water for about 10-15 minutes. Remove and cool. Then rough chop into pieces.

In the meantime, boil the pasta according to package directions. Time the pasta so that it’s cooked to al dente and is ready to go from being drained into the artichoke mix (see direction below).

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and chopped garlic cloves over medium heat, stirring as to not burn the garlic. Add the wine and reduce by half.  Add the chopped artichoke hearts and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the cream and butter. Cook for 1 minute or until butter is melted.

Stir in cooked and drained pasta and then turn off the heat. Gently mix in lemon zest and the parmigiano reggiano cheese. Serve warm.

Artichoke Frittata

Frittatas are simple dishes that take just minutes to prepare and are great for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. They’re different from a quiche in that they do not have a crust. Using egg whites makes for a healthier option, and you can add in as many veggies as you like. For this one, we’re just using artichokes, but if you’re looking to add something, we suggest mushrooms. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large artichokes
  • 2 tablespoons Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 eggs (you can do 4 whole eggs and 4 egg whites, if desired), lightly beaten with a splash of milk)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese (we recommend either our Moo-net white cheddar or parmigiano reggiano)

Directions: Par (or trim) down the artichokes to the cups – this means peel off all the leaves and cut out the fuzzy choke so all you’re left with is the heart.

Cook the heart of the artichokes in boiling water for about 10-15 minutes. Remove and cool. Then chop into smaller 1-2 inch pieces.

Season and sauté the shallots in olive oil for a couple minutes. Add the garlic and diced artichokes. Stir constantly for several minutes to let all the flavors come together.

Remove from heat and incorporate the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Working quickly, pour egg and artichoke mix into a lightly greased pie or frittata dish. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake at 325F for about 30 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temp.

Artichokes alla Siciliana

With Artichoke alla Siciliana each petal bursts with layers of flavor. It takes longer, but it’s worth it! Stuffs 4 large artichokes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large artichokes, tips cut off, stem/bottom sliced off so it sits up straight
  • 1-1/3 c. breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 c. Sigona’s fresh-press EVOO
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Trim artichokes as noted. Set aside. Mix everything else together. Starting at the crown, peel back a petal and stuff a spoonful of the breadcrumb mix inside. Move to the next petal; repeat until the entire artichoke is stuffed.

Set chokes upright on steamer basket and steam until a leaf pulls out easily. Begin checking at about 40 minutes. When done, place on serving dish alongside an empty bowl to dump used leaves.

Artichoke Soup

This recipe comes to us from our friend Chef Jose Luis Ugalde at Cafe Gibraltar in El Granada, Calif. We featured Chef Ugalde in a Chef’s Corner piece a few months ago. Read more here…

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Potatoes, peeled, cooked & diced
  • 4 lbs artichoke hearts, cleaned & cooked
  • 1 lb butter beans, cooked
  • 1 ea onions, diced large
  • 4 cups celery root, diced large
  • 4 ea carrots, peeled, diced large
  • 4 qts vegetable stock (see below for a recipe)
  • to taste, salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • for garnish roasted almonds

Directions: Heat oil in a stock pot, add onions, season and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes.  Add carrots, celery, butter beans, potatoes and artichokes, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Add stock, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes.  Remove, puree, strain and serve garnished with roasted almonds.

Vegetable Stock

  • 1 cluster celery, large diced
  • 2 ea yellow onions, cut in 1/2
  • 4 ea carrots,  peeled, cut in chunks
  • 1/4 cup  canolve oil
  • 8 quarts water
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 ea bay leaves

MORE….

Directions: Spread oil on sheet pan, mix veggies together, season, spread on sheet pan.  Roast in oven for 30 to 40 minutes until veggies caramelize, remove, add to stock pot with water, simmer on low for 30 minutes. Turn off, strain immediately.

When I dip, you dip, we dip!

Here are a couple artichoke dips we know you’ll love.

Low-Cal Dill Dip

From the California Artichoke Advisory Board

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup reduced calorie mayo
  • 2 TBL green onion, minced
  • 3 TBL capers, drained and chopped
  • ¾ tsp dried dill

Directions: Stir all ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

The Best Dip: Good ol’ Butter

Most ‘choke fans love to simply tip a steamed artichoke leaf in butter, and we agree with the California Artichoke Advisory Board on this one…adding a little something to the butter makes it even better! Try mixing a little garlic powder, lemon juice, parsley or powdered Ranch dressing mix into melted butter!

Sigona’s Marinara

John Sigona says, “I love dipping artichokes in Sigona’s Old World Marinara—been doing it for years—delicious! Plus, our marinara as a dip with artichokes has less calories than mayo or aioli so it’s a healthier alternative.”

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1 Comment »

  1. Tryed the Arichokes alla Siciliana——-excellent, just like grandma used to make, Yummy!!!! (Try a little vino with the lemon juice)?????

    Comment by Joan Ritchey — March 9, 2011 @ 4:31 pm


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