Tuesday, January 08, 2013

HAIRY FRIENDS




The other day my Welsh friend Liz asked me how to cook artichokes. I am no expert and freely admit that if they are an ingredient rather than the main focus of the dish, I use antipasti ones or the frozen artichoke hearts that we can buy in Italy.

Preparing artichokes is a pain but, since coming to Sicily, I have learnt that if you have to do it you have got to mean business and be ruthless with the things!  The clearest advice I've found on the preparation stage is from Marcella Hazan.

That said, artichokes in Sicily are often cooked in ways that require very little preparation because all the diners are going to do is suck the delicious juices that will emerge from between the leaves:  the cook just cuts off the stalks, prises open the leaves as best he or she can - bashing the artichokes all around with a rolling pin helps! - then sprinkles seasalt over the vegetables and brushes them with olive oil.  The artichokes are then grilled slowly or roasted in the oven.  If you are roasting them in the oven, stand them close together in a roasting tin so that they don't fall over. Cook them at 200 C for about 50 mins. When they are good and dark, cut off any charred leaves and serve.  Each diner will probably demolish several of them and there will be messy piles of leaves on their plates but you do want them to enjoy the feast, don't you?  Some friends stuff a mixture of breadcrumbs and finely chopped herbs and ham, also moistened with olive oil, between the leaves as a variation.  Sometimes the finely chopped stalks are added to this mixture.



One of my own most successful recipes using artichokes is this pasta al forno.


13 comments:

Bev said...

I adore artichokes and eat them boiled in salted water with olive oil mixed in. It's a simple way for a lazy cook, me. Then the leaves are dipped into a sauce of choice, mayo, oil and vinegar...whatever suits the fancy. I'll have to try them baked or over the grill like the photo. I bet they will be even better than boiled.

Liz said...

Thank you, pat. I'm not wild about them - seem like too much effort but perhaps I'll give them a try next time for Nuora.

jams o donnell said...

They are well worth the effort to cook

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Bev. Happy New Year. Boiled sounds good, too. Hi, Liz. Well, worth a try, as jams says. Hi, jams. I think so, too.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Pat, my cousin , who lives in Italy, did Artichokes for me but unfortunately I was not in the kitchen at the time. Which ever way she cooked them , they were divine :-) I miss her cooking so much, off she went, did what she had to do, and it was dinner time .. :-)

Claude said...

I've never done it. I might try now that you're telling us how. Thanks!

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I love artichokes, but it's next to impossible to find decent fresh ones here. They usually look like they're six weeks old. I like to boil or steam them and then dip the leaves in butter or honey mustard salad dressing. Haven't done that in ages because of the lack of decent looking ones. I miss them.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Anne. I can imagine how much you miss her cooking! Hi, Claude. Worth having a go!

Jenny Woolf said...

Have to say that looks nice. I have never tried to cook artichokes.

elleeseymour said...

I must try this sometime, I have only bought them from the deli, but your version sounds mouthwatering.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Betty. The honey mustard sounds a great idea. What a pity you can't get decent artichokes there. x Thanks, Jenny and Ellee. Do have a go!

Hawkins Family said...

My favorite way to cook them is boil them with a few slices of lemon and a bay leaf. Then I dip the leaves in melted garlic butter. That's my dinner if I'm alone!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

That sounds wonderful, HF. I will try it!

Counters


View My Stats