For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of artichokes. Growing up, they had an almost mythical quality, probably because their appearance at our dinner table was usually confined to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and possibly Easter, if the price was right at the grocery store. Yes, artichokes were even a course unto themselves, though this was often unintentional. Holiday dinners in an Italian family consist of four courses (at least) and sometimes, amid the sheer amount of food, the artichokes were almost forgotten about. That is, until someone would inevitably ask (at times right before dessert) “Did you make artichokes?” prompting the hostess to dash into the kitchen and emerge with an overflowing bowl of the exotic veggies, seasoned to perfection with olive oil, parsley and garlic.
But since artichokes are so tasty—and healthy to boot—I don’t wait for a holiday to come around to make them. Instead, if I see a hearty display in the produce aisle, I will usually pick up a couple for Johnny and I. (Since there’s only two of us, if they’re $2 each, it’s not as big a deal.) I usually cook them in chicken broth, because they taste more flavorful then when they’re boiled in water, and season them liberally with chopped garlic and parsley. Artichokes take a while to cook—at least 45 minutes to an hour—but you know they’re done when they’ve turned dark green and are fork tender. I usually douse them with a few swirls of olive oil before serving. I’ll be stopping into Whole Foods later this afternoon, and if they’ve got artichokes, I think I will buy some to eat tonight with the turkey burgers we’re having. (Check back later for pictures and a recipe.) If not, I may have to settle for some artichoke hearts in a salad. Never quite as good as the “culi” of a freshly steamed artie, but alas, it’ll do.
Photo courtesy of Life Begins At 30.