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!
Working with Artichokes
- Wash under cold water
- Remove lower small and discolored leaves
- Remove stems if attached
- Cut off the top 1/4 of the artichoke and trim any thorns
- Keep the trimmed artichokes in acidulated water (one tablespoon lemon juice per quart of water.)
- Cook as desired but not in aluminum or cast iron pots.
- Eat the tender portion at the bottom of each leaf, the heart, and even the soft interior leaves. The fuzzy interior choke is inedible.
Place artichokes on a rack an inch or two above boiling water 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 and lemon juice, 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.
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.
- 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
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.
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…
- 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
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.
- 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
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!
Low-Cal Dill Dip
From the California Artichoke Advisory Board
- 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!