Artichoke Fetishes and the Insane Recipes That Come With Them
May 3, 2012
The accusations of a fetish have come from people close to me.
They go something like this: "You have an artichoke fetish."
Apparently planting organic artichoke starts wherever there is a naked postage stamp of fertile dirt in the front and back yard is enough to unnerve some.
Not the folks featured in this week's Feast spotlight on locals who are loco for the iconic Castroville thistle, " 'Choke Artists: Wildly creative artichoke recipes - from chips to cakes - and a peek at the passion behind them."
They get it. And, as promised in print, they share some of their creations here:
ARDEN'S ARTICHOKE VEGGIE PAELLA By Arden Eaton, local DJ and promotions director
• 1/4 cup of olive oil • 5 cloves minced garlic • ½ tsp cayenne pepper • ¼ teaspoon saffron powder*, dissolved in a tablespoon of warm water • 2 bay leaves • 1 large yellow onion, diced • ½ fennel bulb, cut into strips • 4 cups vegetable broth • 2 cups brown rice ( I used medium grain brown jasmine – if you use white rice instead, cut the rice cooking time in half from 40 minutes to 20 minutes) • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (could sub one can diced tomatoes) • 1 small (or ½ 1 large) red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips • 1 small (or ½ 1 large) green bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips • 1 small (or ½ 1 large) yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips • 1 cup baby lima beans (par cook for 5 minutes, set aside) • about 2 cups artichoke hearts, cooked and quartered (5 medium sized chokes is what I cooked, or I guess you could use frozen artichoke hearts) black olives • 2 tbsp roughly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
Put the saffron in the warm water, set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet (or paella pan, if you've got one,) and saute the onion and garlic and fennel, until the onion is tender and translucent.
At the same time, heat the broth in a separate saucepan until simmering.
Pour the rice into the skillet and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until the rice is beginning to toast a bit. Add the bell peppers, tomatoes, and cayenne, and cook for a further 3 minutes, or until rice is looking nicely toasted. Stir in the saffron with its soaking water, mixing it in very well. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Add the simmering vegetable broth and bay leaves, and cook covered over medium low heat for 40 minutes or until almost tender and almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the lima beans, cook for another five minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.
Just before it is done, added the cooked artichoke hearts (sprinkled with a few drops of lemon juice), black olives, and chopped parsley, arranged over the rice in an attractive pattern. Continue cooking for a few minutes until all is heated through. Serve warm directly from the dish.
*If you are using saffron threads instead of powder, rub 2 -3 threads between your fingertips, and then let them dissolve in a tablespoon of warm water
SALMON-ARTICHOKE CAKES WITH CARAMELIZED LEEKS AND KALE (*pictured at top) By Camilla Mann, office manager, blogger (Culinary Adventures With Cam) and mom
• 4 C flaked salmon • 1/2 C chopped artichoke hearts • 1 leek, diced and caramelized • 2 C fresh kale, caramelized (about 1 C when cooked) • 1/2 C shredded asiago cheese • 1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese • 2 eggs • 1/2 C corn flour • pink Himalaya salt and flower pepper to taste • fresh dill and lemon slices for garnish
Mix everything together in a large bowl. Press palm-sized balls to form patties. Cook in a large flat-bottomed pan, in a pat of butter and a splash of olive oil, until the cakes are nicely browned.
Serve with a sprinkling of fresh dill and a slice of lemon.
LASAGNA BIANCA CON CARCIOFI (WHITE LASAGNA WITH ARTICHOKES) By Camilla Mann
For the sauce: • Butter • Olive Oil • Flour • Milk • Cinnamon • White Wine • Shallots, thinly sliced • Chicken, cubed into bite-size pieces • Shredded carrots • Fennel seeds • Sea salt and pepper to taste • Whole fresh basil leaves • Fresh baby spinach • Italian/flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped • Chopped artichoke hearts
For the pasta: • Lasagna noodles • Mozzarella • Ricotta cheese (or cream cheese) • Cottage cheese • Shredded Parmesan cheese
Procedure: Melt butter with a splash of olive oil so that it doesn’t brown. Once the butter is melted, add flour to make a roux. Add milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Once you have the amount and consistency that you want, add a splash of white wine and cinnamon. Whisk again until smooth. Set aside.
Sauté the shallots in olive oil until softened. Add and brown the chicken. Add fennel seeds and carrots, cook until carrots are done. Wilt the spinach and basil leaves. Turn off heat and add parsley and chopped artichokes. Combine the sauce and the chicken.
Spoon a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9"x13” pan. Then alternate noodles, mozzarella (to cover the seams), chicken sauce, ricotta, cottage cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat until you reach the top of the pan. The last layer should be the chicken sauce.
Bake at 350°F (covered in foil) until the sauce bubbles along the side of the pan, usually an hour. Then top with Parmesan cheese and bake another 10 minutes, uncovered, to brown the top.
MINI ARTICHOKE-CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKES By Camilla Mann
• 4-1/2 C white whole wheat flour • 1/2 C Dutch process cocoa powder • 2 t baking soda • 2 t salt • 2 t ground cinnamon • 1/2 t ground cloves • 2 sticks softened butter • 1 C canola oil • 2 C raw sugar • 1 C blue agave nectar • 4 eggs • 2 t vanilla extract • 1 C buttermilk • 2 cups chopped artichoke hearts • 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325. Mix dry ingredients. Beat butter and oil until well-mixed. Add sugar and beat until lightened. Beat in agave and eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Beat in half the flour mixture, then the second half. Stir in chocolate chips. Scrape batter into pans. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the cake is well risen and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack. Top with silky chocolate sauce.