Living close to San Mateo, CA, the artichoke producing capital of the US, I am lucky. For months, the delicious, complicated, decadent vegetables have appeared faithfully at my nearby farmer’s market. I usually steam them and eat the leaves plain, or possibly dipped in butter-garlic sauce. Or, if my fiance mixes up a dipping sauce of mayo and mustard, I may dip a few in there. But mostly I just eat them plain, enjoying the complex green vegetable taste.
Then I read Out of the Kitchen Adventures of a Food Writer by Jeannette Ferrary.
Ferrary is an Irish-Italian American raised in Brooklyn, and later the suburbs. The memoir covers a fascinating arc through America’s love affair with convenience food through the recent passion for local and sustainable. Her (Irish) mother’s cooking revolved around meat and potatoes, and later TV dinners. It was her (Italian) grandmother who labored over elaborate meals and loved her grandchildren through feeding them.
Although the recipes accompanying each chapter are mostly humorous punch lines to their respective chapters, (collegiate popcorn, or tea with a child, for example) the artichokes got my attention. You slather the artichokes with olive oil, garlic, lemon and parsley, cover with water and simmer until done. And they are delicious. The complex flavor of the veg is drawn out and enhanced. The original recipe calls for bread crumbs and peas, which I omitted. So, here is the adapted recipe:
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Juice of 1 medium to large lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the artichoke stem so it is flat, and cut a bit off the tips. Place artichokes in a pan big enough that all four chokes can stand on the bottom side to side. Place remaining ingredients over, in and around artichokes. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until cooked, anywhere from 20-45 minutes depending on the size of the artichokes.