Thursday, March 25, 2010

Artichokes with Bagna Cauda

148. My project for this week was to explore the artichoke and to make a delightful dish. An artichoke is actually a flower, a perennial thistle in the sunflower family. When the bud is permitted to grow to it's full potential, the plant stretches out 6 feet in diameter and up to 4 feet in height, and a beautiful purple flower emerges. Someone discovered these buds can be harvested before the flower begins to develop, as it is in a young stage. The entire bud can be eaten including the choke, which is slightly above the artichoke heart. Only in the more mature artichoke buds, the choke becomes spiky and impossible to digest.
One of my artichokes was too mature and I cut it open to show you the fuzzy choke.

The artichoke is a new phenomenon to me but one I have desired to figure out and conquer.
Some people think an artichoke is more work than it is worth...I dare to differ. This recipe was so easy and not difficult in the least. And the end result was "delightful". The flavor was so rich and delicious. We all agreed it would be great for tapas or as a delicious appetizer. While exploring, I found this post on on "How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke".

My recipe for Artichokes with Bagna Cauda is from the new Bon Appetite Magazine for April 2010. You can find it here on Epicurious.

Artichokes with Bagna Cauda

Bon Appétit | April 2010

by Ivy Manning

Bagna cauda is a warm, garlicky dip traditionally served with raw vegetables. It hails from northwestern Italy's Piedmont region. In this version, the sauce is served with cooked artichokes. And don’t be scared off by the three heads of garlic called for in this recipe. Simmering the garlic mellows its flavor significantly.

Yield: Makes 6 servings
3 heads of garlic, cloves separated, papery skin removed (but cloves left unpeeled)
3 tablespoons butter
1 2-ounce tin anchovy fillets, drained, anchovies chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 large artichokes, stems trimmed, top 3/4 inch removed, tips of remaining leaves trimmed

Place unpeeled garlic cloves in small saucepan. Add enough water to cover garlic cloves by 1 inch.

Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until garlic is tender, about 25 minutes. Drain; transfer to plate. Chill garlic cloves until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Squeeze garlic cloves from peel and place cloves in small bowl.

Using fork, mash garlic cloves until smooth.

Melt butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Add anchovies and sauté 1 minute.

Add mashed garlic and oil. Simmer over low heat 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm before serving, stirring occasionally (bagna cauda will separate when served).

To prepare artichokes, trim the stems , cut the top 3/4 inch removed, cut the tips of remaining leaves with kitchen scissors


Add artichokes to large pot of boiling salted water.

Cover and cook until just tender when pierced through stem with fork, turning occasionally, 30 to 40 minutes, depending on size of artichokes. Drain.

Place 1 hot artichoke on each of 6 plates. Divide bagna cauda among small bowls or ramekins. Serve artichokes with warm bagna cauda.

Test-Kitchen tips:
To separate garlic cloves quickly, place the head of garlic on a work surface, then push against the top or bottom of the head of garlic with the palm of your hand. Use scissors to cut off the tips of pointed artichoke leaves.

"These things are just plain annoying. After all the trouble you go to, you get about as much actual "food" out of eating an artichoke as you would from licking 30 or 40 postage stamps. Have the shrimp cocktail instead."
~Miss Piggy


Beautiful pear tree lane said...

Hi Lilly,
I have never prepared Artichokes because like many felt that they were to much trouble, but after reading this post, I don't feel quite as intimidated. lol. I do love garlic and would eat it everyday. I even grow it and never have to buy at the grocers. It is so easy to grow too. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for following my blog, I hope you will find something that you enjoy reading. I always enjoy meeting and getting to know new bloggers.

Rochelle said...

So many memories for me of New Year's Eve when my grandma would make a huge pot of bagna cauda and we would have a part of the italian heritage! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

Michael Lee West said...

It's been TOO long since we've cooked artichokes. Thank you so much for this great post. Have a wonderful weekend!

Traci at ThreeDogsAtHome said...

Dear Lilly, I must be blogging after my Ambien kicks in again because I have no memory of becoming a follower of your blog. But appearently I still make darn do decisions under its inflence because I am so happy to have found your wonderful site. I am so looking forward to trying almost all of the recipes I have seen so far. And I don't even like to cook. Thanks so much.


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