How Chefs Eat Artichokes

Raw, fried, creamed, or stuffed: There are so many ways to heart artichokes.

Food and Wine Magazine comes up with some of the most interesting articles.  This one about artichokes is great, as artichokes are appearing beautifully in the local grocery markets.  I grow my own, but they are so pretty on the plant, I have a hard time wanting to cut them off and eat them.
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Though scraping the meat off of an artichoke leaf is both cathartic and delicious (particularly when said leaf has been doused in melted butter), there are so many more ways to eat this tasty thistle. You could stuff the insides with potatoes. You could make a warm, cheesy dip. You could even throw the hearts into a bread pudding. This spring, we vote for trying it all.

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Since it’s peak season for artichokes, we asked chefs across the country about their favorite ways to eat ‘em. Here’s what they had to say:

Shota Nakajima, Chef/Owner, Adana

“Artichokes are snacks for me, so I like to blanch the whole entire thing without cleaning them till they’re nice and soft. Then pick the leaves and dip them in Kewpie mayo. The snacky thing where I get to eat with my hands, like pistachios, is something that I love to do.”

Sarah Grueneberg, Chef/Owner, Monteverde

“I like to shave artichokes raw into a salad or fry them in a little olive oil to make crispy chips.”

 

Shaved Artichoke Salad

David Posey, Chef/Owner, Elske

“I love cooking artichokes using a technique that Paul Kahan told me about, ‘sott’olio’, which is an Italian technique of holding vegetables in oil. The way I like to cook the artichokes is completely cleaning them of tough outer leaves and woody parts, then gently simmer in a very acidic court bouillon, then to finish, ‘shock’ them in cold oil. They are best after they hang out in the fridge in the cold oil for a few days.”

Julia Jaksic, Chef, Employees Only

“I love grilled artichokes on a wood fire with a garlicky aioli.”

Nicholas Elmi, Chef/Owner, LaurelITV, and Royal Boucherie

“Depending on size, for larger globe artichokes I like a traditional barigould (white wine, lemon, thyme, black pepper, and olive oil), for young tender artichokes I like to just split them, dust them with seasoned flour and fry them. Served with a simple dipping sauce like remoulade, they’re a perfect, light spring treat.”

 

Roman Fried Artichokes

Flynn McGarry, Chef/Owner, Gem

“I like artichokes raw in a salad. I’ve also done a “Blooming Artichoke” dish where we fry it like a Blooming Onion.”

Emily Yuen, Executive Chef, Bessou

“If I am cooking at home, I like to simply boil the artichokes in chicken stock and lemon. I like to peel off the leaves dip it in melted butter and scrape the meat off of the outer leaves with my teeth.”

Justin Bazdarich, Chef/Owner, Speedy Romeo

“For chokes, I cut in half and then poach in an aromatic broth. Once cooked, I pull out the choke and brush with olive oil and then place on the wood grill. After cooked, simply serve with any spicy aioli or mayo for dipping leaves and eating the heart.”

Star Ingredient: Quercus Umbriae Giudia Artichokes. If cooks were asked to name the vegetables they find most intimidating and time-consuming to prepare, artichokes would surely top the list. Marinated artichoke hearts from Umbria in central Italy solve the problem: No trimming, cooking or choke removal is required.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 425°. Toast the bread directly on the oven racks until dry and lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Rub 1 side of the toast with the cut sides of the garlic clove. Lower the oven temperature to 375°.

Step 2

Brush the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the reserved artichoke oil and arrange one-third of the toast in a single layer. Top with half of the artichokes. Season lightly with salt and pepper and top with one-third of the cheese. Repeat with another layer of toast, artichokes, and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining toast and cheese.

Step 3

In a bowl, mix the milk with the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the custard over the bread; cover with plastic wrap. Lay a few cans on the plastic to keep the bread submerged. Let soak until most of the custard is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove the plastic.

Step 4

Place a sheet of oiled parchment paper on top of the pudding and cover with foil. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and parchment; bake for 15 minutes longer, or until the top is golden. Let the pudding cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Make Ahead

The pudding can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.

Suggested Pairing

Look for a full-flavored Chardonnay from Italy or France with only a little oak.

The thinly sliced, crunchy raw artichokes are the star of this salad from chef Chris Behr of the Rome Sustainable Food Project. Buy the freshest ones you can get your hands on. A true test: The leaves should squeak when you squeeze them.

How to Make It

Step 1

Pour the lemon juice into 
a large bowl. Working with 
1 artichoke at a time, pull off 
the tough outer leaves. Using a small knife, slice 1/4 inch off the top of each artichoke, then trim and peel the stems. Very thinly slice each artichoke lengthwise and add to the bowl. Toss with the lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let stand for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Step 2

Spread the arugula and radicchio on a platter. Using 
a slotted spoon, lift the artichokes from the lemon juice and scatter over the greens. Sprinkle with the herbs.

Step 3

Whisk the olive oil with the remaining lemon juice in the large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad; serve.

Double-frying is the secret to making these super-crispy and addictive fried artichokes from TV chef Andrew Zimmern.

Ingredients

How to Make It

Step 1

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the fine salt. Whisking constantly, slowly stream in the olive oil until the aioli is thick and glossy. Whisk in 1 more tablespoon of the lemon juice and the anchovies. Cover and refrigerate.

Step 2

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to a large bowl of cold water. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, trim the stem. Snap off the leaves until you reach the tender light green inner leaves. Cut off the top third of the artichoke and trim off any tough leaves near the base. Halve the artichoke lengthwise and scoop out the fuzzy choke if necessary. Drop the artichoke in the lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.

Step 3

In a medium, straight-sided skillet, heat 2 inches of canola oil to 250°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and top with a rack. Drain the artichokes well and pat dry. Fry in 3 batches over moderately high heat until tender and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the artichokes to the prepared wire rack to drain.

Step 4

Heat the oil to 375°. Fry the artichokes again in 3 batches until crispy, about 1 minute per batch. This time, drain on the paper towels. Season generously with sea salt and serve hot with the aioli and lemon wedges.

Make Ahead

The aioli can be refrigerated overnight.

Suggested Pairing

Fragrant Central Italian white.
How Chefs Eat Artichokes