Spring Artichokes

by heidi on April 18, 2011

FoodieCrush Artichokephoto > foodiecrush

Whenever I see a globe artichoke, I’m transported back to the drive from my grandma’s home in San Mateo to the bottom of the winding road of  westbound Highway 92, on our way to have oysters at the Miramar Beach Restaurant in Half Moon Bay. Looking out the window as we cruised toward the ocean, it was easy to spot hand-lettered signs pointing the way to dirt-packed parking lots loaded with cars of traveling cooks, picking through boxes of  straight from the stem artichokes.

I wasn’t a fan of artichokes back then. Too spikey, too similar in look to brussels sprouts (gag) and just way too much work to get a taste of that tidbit of meat at the end of the leaf. All the scraping for such little yield.

But soon enough I succombed to their meaty little tips and today proudly proclaim the artichoke as one of my top 5 favorite vegetables. Served with a vinaigrette as an appetizer, stuffed and braised as a main meal or simply studding a pasta or pizza, it makes no difference to me. If its on the menu, chances are I’ll order it.

Little did I know then that Half Moon Bay was the American birthplace of the artichoke, introduced by immigrant Italian farmers in the late 1800′s and in nearby Castroville. Today I can find tight budded artichokes by the same California company (although much larger now I’m sure) in my local Costco several times of year.

FoodieCrush Artichoke with Aliphoto > foodiecrush

So when I walked into Whole Foods and found globe artichokes as big as my head, and at a stunning price of just $1.50 a piece, I loaded up and started searching for recipes. I knew I wanted more than just butter and mayo for my chokes, a recipe that had some girth, a recipe to do justice to those huge globes.

Foodiecrush Zen Can Cook Artichoke Poached Egg

photo > Zen Can Cook

This recipe has some serious WOW factor, and was obviously not prepared by any average blogger. Just look at that photo. Gorgeous. Every photo and recipe on Zen Can Cook showcases the serious gastronomic background of personal chef Stephane Lemagnen, formerly of NYC’s Room 4 Dessert and now, thankfully, a food blogger. Although originally blogged for serving at Christmas, Artichoke Heart, Salmon Cream, Poached Egg, Smoked Scottish Salmon, Osetra caviar ‘s combination of simple but elegant ingredients feel perfectly springtime. Take care with the presentation and don’t get all fancy with the accompaniments. Keep it simple and serve with sliced fresh fruit and and a bottle of chilled champers to toast the perfect Easter brunch.

Foodiecrush The Stone Soup Globe Artichoke Confit

photo > The Stone Soup

Simple and served as a vegetarian main course, globe artichoke confit from The Stone Soup is slow cooked in an herb laced oil with leeks and topped with a lemony crumbed gremolata (not shown in photo) and served over spring time’s other happy veggie, broad beans.

Foodiecrush The Italian Dish Roman Style Artichokes

photo > The Italian Dish

From The Italian Dish, Roman Style Artichokes are simply delish and with Elaine’s step by step prep details, easy to prepare. With leaves removed and a pared down choke, this traditional recipe cooked in fresh mint, parsley and garlic makes a memorable lunch or light supper when paired with a light pasta or salad and a crisp white sauvignon blank.

I’m still on the hunt for more recipes (I have 3 more chokes and I said they were huge!) so please share, what’s your fav artichoke recipe?

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1 comment |

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Mike June 12, 2012 at 9:27 am

I am jealous of that artichoke!

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