In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring: Heirloom Artichokes

Grandma Pauline’s Traditional Sicilian Stuffed Artichokes

This artichoke recipe evokes vivid memories of my childhood when our extended family would visit my grandmother Pauline, my mom’s mom, and gather around the table set with a huge platter of these stuffed artichokes. Everyone would sit together and reach in to pluck off a leaf – it really brought the family together. Artichokes take a while longer to cook when prepared this way, but each petal bursts with layers of flavor so it’s worth it! Enjoy! John Sigona Jr.

• 3 Tbsp. Sigona’s Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 3 Tbsp. minced onion or 1 small shallot
• 1 to 2 clove garlic
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 1 anchovy
• 1/3 cup bread crumbs or panko
• 3 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
• 1 large local heirloom artichoke
• Half a fresh lemon

Directions: Peel off at least two layers of the outermost leaves from the artichoke and slice off the stem so the artichoke will sit upright. Slice off the top inch or so of the artichoke, then use scissors to cut the tips off the remaining leaves. Rub the lemon on all cut edges to help them from browning.

In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; season with salt. Work the mixture for about 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Stir in the anchovy and melt into the oil. Cook for about 2 minutes more.

Add in the breadcrumbs and reduce heat to low. Stir to bring the mix together, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Turn off the burner and then stir in cheese. Set mixture aside.

Fit a large pot with a steamer basket and fill with about an inch of water. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon half. Cover and bring the water to a medium boil so it creates steam.

To stuff the artichokes, start at the crown and peel back a petal to make a little pocket (don’t worry about stuffing innermost, light-colored leaves just above the center choke; start with the heartier leaves which are for eating). Fill the pocket with a small spoonful of the breadcrumb mix. Move to the next petal; repeat until the entire artichoke is stuffed.

Set stuffed artichoke upright on steamer basket and steam until a leaf pulls out easily. Begin checking at about 35 minutes. When done, place on serving dish alongside an empty bowl to dump used leaves.

Creamy Garlic-Balsamic Dipping Sauce for Artichokes

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

• 2 Tbsp Sigona’s 12-Year Aged Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
• 2 Tbsp Sigona’s Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard
• 1 Tbsp water
• Salt and pepper, to taste

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.

• 1/3 cup plain yogurt, such as Brown Cow
• 1 Tbsp lime juice
• 1 Tbsp red chili sauce, such as Sriracha (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.

• 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, such as Fage
• 2 Tbsp Sigona’s Persian Lime Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 1 tsp finely grated fresh peeled ginger
• 2 tsp soy sauce
• 1/2 tsp lime zest (optional)
• Salt and pepper, to taste

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.

• 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.

Lemon Braised Artichokes

You’ll swoon over the flavors of these artichokes. Really! The artichokes are infused with fantastic flavor from simmering in the stock, and the sauce that’s made from reducing the remaining stock with a bit of lemon juice and zest is superb. You might want to eat the artichokes all yourself. Adapted from NY Times. Serves 6.

• 3 locally grown artichokes
• 3 Tbsp. Sigona’s Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as California Organic Arbequina
• 1 Tbsp. butter, divided
• 3/4 to 1 cup chicken stock, more as needed
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• Zest and one juice of 1 medium lemon

Directions: Prepare the artichokes by removing the smaller, outer and discolored leaves. Trim off the stem so the artichoke will sit upright. Cut off the top fourth of the artichokes and then use scissors to cut off any sharp tips remaining. Slice the artichokes in half and use a spoon to scoop out the fuzzy choke, also removing any purple leaves.

Warm the olive oil very large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add artichokes cut side down. Cook until lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add stock (it should come about halfway up the sides of the artichokes), bring to a boil, cover; turn heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20 minutes or until tender, checking every 5 to 10 minutes to make sure there is enough liquid in the pan, adding more stock as necessary.

Sprinkle artichokes with salt and pepper and then, leaving liquid in the skillet, transfer the artichokes to a serving platter; set aside.

Raise heat for the skillet to medium-high and cook the stock, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to sauce. Stir in lemon zest, juice and butter; taste and adjust seasoning. Serve artichokes drizzled with sauce.

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