Hands up if you can’t be bothered with fresh artichokes? They are really easy to prepare, once you know how, and taste so amazing fresh. Australia’s artichoke season is nearly done, so I thought I’d sneak this post in, just in time. Follow my step by step guide and you won’t look back. NB I’ve used small globe artichokes
You can eat your artichokes simply by following the steps below, they make a wonderful addition to an antipasto plate.
You could also fry the reserved leaves in a little olive oil until golden brown. Season with salt and suck the flesh off the base of the leaves. My kid’s love eating them this way.
Another fantastic idea (courtesy of Jared Ingersol of The Dank Street Depot and The Cotton Duck in Sydney) is to mash them up with a little honey and stir them through softened butter to make an artichoke butter. Spoon the butter over scallops in the shell and grill for a few minutes until golden and just cooked through.
We enjoyed our artichokes in a simple pasta, spaghetti with artichoke and chilli garlic crumbs. See below for recipe.
1/2 packet spaghetti
2 slices day old bread, crumbled
4 pre-prepared artichoke hearts, quartered
1 birds eye chilli, finely sliced
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
Sea salt and pepper
Reggiano or good quality parmesan, shaved
Bring some water to boil in a double saucepan and turn down to a simmer. Place your artichokes in the steamer basket and place the lid on top. Steam for 10 – 15 minutes for small artichokes and 20-25 minutes for larger artichokes. Test with a skewer, they will be tender when ready. Allow the artichokes to cool completely.
Using a paring knife gently start pulling the leaves off until you get to the heart of the artichoke. You’ll know when you get there as the outer leaves are tough and the inner leaves are soft. Don’t discard the leaves (see below for a tip on how to use these)
Have a cut lemon handy and cut off the base (at the stem) of the artichoke. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the fibrous flesh out the middle (the choke) and rub generously with the lemon again, even squeezing a little of the juice over it. Artichokes oxidise very quickly when cut and go a very unappetising shade of brown, the lemon stops the oxidisation process. I find that the tips of the leaves can be a little tough, so cut off the very top of the artichoke as well, to reveal the inner layers.
Drizzle your artichoke hearts with extra virgin olive oil, chopped Italian parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Cook spaghetti in salted boiling water until aldente (follow packet instructions) and drain.
Gently fry the breadcrumbs on a medium heat in olive oil until golden brown and crispy. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the spaghetti to the breadcrumbs and moisten with a little extra olive oil. Toss through the artichokes and warm them through. Add the parsley and season well with salt and pepper. Serve with reggiano or parmesan.