November 11, 2010

Nobody Puts Baby [Artichokes] in a Corner
Gosh, I miss Patrick Swayze. He was the best.

Now I want to talk about my new-found love for baby artichokes. I used to pass them by in the grocery store, scoffing at their inferior size, wondering why anyone would buy something so work-intensive that would yield less than the measly (but delicious) meat a regular artichoke offers.

But they were on sale the other day, so I decided I'd investigate. Naturally, I turned to Mark Bittman's Artichokes Provencal recipe, for guidance on how best to prepare them.

The first step in preparing baby artichokes is to pull off the tough outer leaves. A good rule of thumb (that I discovered) is to remove all the "short" leaves so that what you have left is a uniform layer, like this:

Next, trim off the top half-inch of the leaves and the tough outer layer of the stalk, then cook the artichokes until tender (Bittman's recipe calls for braising, so that the leaves get nice and soft).

The first step of braising involves cooking the food in question over medium-high, dry that's what I did. I used a splash of olive oil in the pan and let the artichokes cook until they had browned, then flipped them and added the rest of the ingredients (tiny tomatoes, crushed garlic, and kalamata olives).

There they are, beautifully browned and waiting for a splash of white wine, some water, and the remaining ingredients. They might crackle a little, but that's just their way of telling you that they love you. Trust me.

Because I was, like, doing other stuff while cooking these, the bottom of the pan got preeeetty black. Luckily, though, none of the food was ruined. This was strange because I'm never lucky like that.

The reason baby artichokes are so great is, really, that you can eat way more of the actual artichoke than you can with regular-sized ones, and there's no choke in the middle to worry about. That earthy artichoke flavor is still there, and they're so mild that they really lend themselves to almost any dish.

Mr. Bittman, I'm a convert. Thank you [once again].

1 comment:

  1. Great to see KK back again! And yay to artichokes of any kind..