In the Kitchen with Sigona’s: Appetizing Artichoke Dishes & Dips

Photo Credit: Planet Organic

Photo Credit: Planet Organic

Working with Artichokes

  • Wash under cold water
  • Remove lower, small and discolored leaves
  • About the stems: The stems are edible, but artichokes look best with the stem cut off so they can sit up straight. Use the stems for an omelet, frittata or as a veggie on the side with a whole grain dish.
  • Cut off the top 1/4 of the artichoke and trim any thorns
  • Keep the trimmed artichokes in acidulated water (1 tablespoon lemon juice per quart of water) until time to cook
  • 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.

Simple, Steamed Artichokes

  • Place a trimmed and prepped artichoke in the steamer basket or on a rack, an inch or two above boiling water seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon each of olive oil, lemon juice and peppercorns, if desired.
  • Cover and steam 25 to 45 minutes, until tender and leaves pull apart easily.
  • Serve with your choice of dipping sauces, melted butter or Sigona’s Old World marinara.

Creamy Garlic-Balsamic Dipping Sauce for Artichokes

Steamed artichoke with assorted dips IMG_3404_E_smOur Sigona’s garlic oil gives this dip a nice subtle garlic flavor without adding bits of garlic to the dip. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Directions: Whisk together balsamic, garlic oil, Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve vinaigrette with steamed artichokes.

Baja Red Pepper Dipping Sauce for Artichokes

This sauce offers a little kick – you can add more or less depending on your taste preference. Serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt, such as Brown Cow
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp red chili sauce, such as Sirracha (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground red chili powder, such as ancho or cayenne (more or less, to taste)

Directions: Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust seasoning according to taste.

Persian Lime, Ginger & Soy Dipping Sauce for Artichokes

This dip is packed with bright, fresh flavor. It’s particularly delightful with a boiled or steamed artichoke that’s served chilled. Serves 1 to 2.

Ingredients:

Directions: Either whisk briskly or use a food processor to mix together all ingredients until well blended and smooth.

Meyer Lemon & Thyme Dipping Sauce for Artichokes

Lemon and artichoke is another classic combination. We love this one that we’ve adapted a bit from Luisa Ormonde Hancock of Luisa’s Catering in San Carlos.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, such as Brown Cow
  • 1 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 tsp Meyer lemon zest
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Directions: Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Artichokes with Parmigiano, Cracked Pepper & Sigona’s Leccino Olive Oil

Artichokes with Parmigiano, Cracked Pepper and Sigona’s Leccino Olive Oil IMG_3363_E_smThe best part about these artichokes is how flavorful the heart will be once you work your way to the center. They’re simply perfect with grilled grass-fed beef. Adapted from The Big Book of Backyard Cooking. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 2 artichokes
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1/4 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press Leccino Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbsp freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for sprinkling
  • Cracked (or coarsely ground) black or mixed peppercorns, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

Directions: Prepare artichokes by removing lower, small and discolored leaves. Trim the stem so artichokes can sit up straight. Cut off the top 1/4 of the artichoke and use scissors to trim off any thorns. Keep the trimmed artichokes in acidulated water (a mix of lemon juice and water). Drain when ready to use.

Place the trimmed and prepped artichokes in the steamer basket or on a rack, an inch or two above boiling water. Cover and steam 25 to 45 minutes, until tender and leaves pull off easily (remember to check the water level occasionally, add more as needed).

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, cheese, 1 teaspoon pepper and a bit of salt, to taste.

To serve, arrange 1 artichoke at a time upright on a salad plate. Spread the leaves open and, using a spoon, scoop out the fuzzy center chokes. Season the cavity with salt and pepper, then spoon in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil mix into the center of the artichoke. Divide remaining sauce among 2 small bowls and serve alongside the artichokes.

Sprinkle the opened artichokes with a bit more grated cheese.

To eat, pull off leaves and dip in sauce. The hearts will be the best part!

Herb-Stuffed Artichokes with Lemon & Tarragon Olive Oil

Herb-Stuffed Artichokes with Lemon & Tarragon Olive Oil IMG_3377_E_smEnjoy this dish with company at the start of a meal on a warm spring evening. Adapted from Plenty. Serves 2 to 4.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium or large artichokes
  • 1 ½ lemons, halved
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • About 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup panko or breadcrumbs
  • 2 ½ Tbsp Sigona’s Tarragon Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided

Directions: Prepare artichokes by removing lower, small and discolored leaves. Trim the stem so artichokes can sit up straight. Cut off the top 1/4 of the artichoke and use scissors to trim off any thorns. Cut artichokes in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove the chokes and some internal purple leaves to make a cavity, then and rub all over with half of a lemon.

In a small bowl, mix together the dill, garlic, parsley and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff about 1 tablespoon into each of the artichoke cavities, reserving any excess mix. Tie the artichoke halves back together with string, then transfer to a saucepan just big enough to sit the artichokes close together when standing up straight. Add the juice of a lemon, the squeezed lemon itself and some salt. Fill pot with water almost to cover the artichokes, and low boil for 30 to 40 minutes, making sure the bases stay immersed. They’re done once the hearts are soft (test by sticking a knife at the base, the heart should be soft throughout). It could take as long as 40 minutes.

Gently lift out the artichokes and let drain for about 5 minutes.

Sauté the remaining stuffing with 1 ½ tablespoons of Sigona’s tarragon olive oil and 1/3 cup panko for 5 to 6 minutes over medium heat or until panko is just turning golden. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the artichokes to a plate and remove the string. Lay them open and spread the panko, herb and oil mixture over the top. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon more tarragon olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon juice, if desired.

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