It’ so easy to just get marinated artichoke hearts most of the year, but when artichokes are in season, there are few vegetables that are more earthy and refreshing than artichokes. In their peak season, usually between March and May and often extending into summer, they are ever so tasty steamed and grilled with just a little lemon.
Artichokes are thistles, members of the genus Cynara, family Compositae, with cousins marigold, daisy, Echinacea, and dandelion. They originated around the Mediterranean, and, in spite of their name, have almost nothing in common with sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), which are actually a New World food.
Here are some basics on cooking fresh artichokes…
At the market… If you’re choosing fresh artichokes at the store, look for firm, brightly-colored ones with unblemished leaves that hold tightly together. The most common kind to us is globe artichokes, which can be found in the traditional green globe, baby (harvested earlier), purple (more bitter, pretty product of certain seed varieties), and long stem (whose stems are edible if peeled).
Back home… Artichokes turn color quickly, so hold artichokes in a water bath with a squeeze of lemon during preparation if you have a lot to do. Your artichoke trimming will vary by recipe and what part you want to use, but for most recipes you will need to remove the stems and the top third of each artichoke, and trim off the sharp edges and outer leaves.
Fresh artichokes are fantastic roasted, steamed, boiled, and grilled, and they love breadcrumbs, cheese, and pork products as much as they love lemons, garlic, and fresh herbs.
To the stove (or grill)… The Paula Deen Test Kitchen gives you clear instructions for trimming and preparing artichokes in this great spring-summer recipe, Grilled Artichokes with Bacon and Rosemary Dip Here, they’re blanched in batches while you preheat the grill and fry up some bacon to make a yummy dip. They are then simply halved lengthwise and grilled for about 10 minutes.
Artichokes can also be boiled all the way through, plain, or in broths flavored with citrus, aromatics, spices, and white wine, or stuffed and foiled-wrapped as in Stuffed Artichokes. Here, individual leaves are packed with a garlic, parsley, cheese, and breadcrumb blend, topped with lemon slices, and simmered covered until fork-tender.
When they’re in season, you don’t have to bolster artichokes with cheese and crusty bread, but that’s always delicious. Out of season (or anytime you’re in a pinch), try these recipe favorites using marinated artichoke hearts: Mini Artichoke and Gruyere Quiche or Shrimp Scampi with Artichokes and Basil.
I have learned something new. It has been quite a while since I have been to a baby shower, and I am now prepared and up-to-date. I love the term "sprinkles" and it is nice to know that men are also invited to partake in the excitement! Thank you for a fun article!
kay buelvas in Baby Showers and Sprinkles on June 19, 2013 at 11:03 am
Wonderful ideas!!! Thank you so much for sharing this information about such a great occasion! Cindy, your ideas always helpful and creative.
Sandra in Baby Showers and Sprinkles on June 15, 2013 at 10:59 am
Everyone calls Paula dean because i cook for friends and family and they say i talk like Paula tho i am 71and never as pretty as Paula i want to be like Paula i love her and her family
normal maskell in The Great Party Challenge on June 12, 2013 at 10:11 am
Susan Lott is a great party planner! She has tons of great ideas that she needs to share with the online world. I have been begging her to start a Facebook page or Etsy account. The graduation gift that she made me was hand drawn with my name and different definitions for each letter. She framed it and I cherish it.....I also would have paid about $50 for it in a store. Thanks for sharing her idea but this idea is nothing compared to some of her other quick and money saving tips! You should hire her for your creative team!
Love you Susu!
Adrienne Hilliard in Baby Showers and Sprinkles on June 11, 2013 at 10:55 pm