April 14, 2008

Artichokes Galore

It's artichoke season around here! I'm lucky enough to have a grocer in my neighborhood who sells local artichokes (from about 30 miles south in Half Moon Bay) for $1 a piece. Who could pass them up at that price? I bought a half dozen this weekend, steamed them up and even made some of my own mayonnaise for dipping.

Two mayonnaise tips I learned from Ruth:
  1. Use champagne vinegar
  2. Use a blender

I whisked and whisked but nothing was firming up. I realized that I needed to add more olive oil (I didn't exactly measure the lemon juice or vinegar...) and wasn't sure how much, so into the blender it went. The biggest downside to this method is that you lose a little bit when trying to pour/scrape it out.

There are plenty of places to find out how to prepare an artichoke online, so I'll spare repeating it here. It really is pretty easy if all you want to do is steam them. I used the mayonnaise recipe that Orangette wrote about in the most recent Bon Appetit.

Funny artichoke story:
I spent a summer in France when I was 16 with my best friend. Four weeks were spent on the sea in St. Malo, living (and eating with) with a family. This was the part I most looked forward to about that summer!

One evening for dinner we sat down, had a glass of wine ... some kind of small appetizer that is not memorable...and then our entree: an artichoke on a plate. One, steamed artichoke with a vinaigrette (I think) on the side. I had never seen a whole artichoke up close (I'm from upstate NY - artichokes only came in jars) and had no clue how to eat it. We politely followed their lead, finished the artichoke and then waited for DINNER, because the artichoke had to be another appetizer? Then the salad and yogurt came out and we knew that was it for the night. We were so peeved, we went out for Chinese food (oh, the blasphemy!).

Now you know why the French aren't fat :) I'm happy to report that I have come full circle and on Saturday night, I had a bowl of sorrel soup and an artichoke for dinner and I was completely satisfied.

PS: Artichokes are KID FRIENDLY! My 4 yr old had a blast peeling and dipping and scraping/sucking the leaves

No comments: