Friday, December 9, 2011

Fall in Love with Artichokes. [Michael]

When Rhonda and I first started dating, we went to Dorian’s Red Hand,
a restaurant on Second Avenue in New York. On the menu were artichokes served with hollandaise sauce. I told Rhonda that my Mom use to make them all the time for us when they were in season.

Up until then, Rhonda had never had an artichoke. Since I don’t like sharing, we ordered two. As the leaves dwindled down to the core, I took a spoon and scooped out the fibrous hair from the heart and ate my favorite part the artichoke bottom. Rhonda gave me hers as well and that’s when I knew that I was definitely in love.

Nick visited us this past Thanksgiving and I asked him if he wanted to learn his grandmother’s recipe for stuffed artichokes. We had four. Since the artichoke leaves have sharp thorns, trim the thorn off the top of each leaf. Next, cut the stem from the bottom of each one. Mix bread crumbs, salt, pepper, crushed garlic and diced peppered salami together in a mixing bowl. Open the artichoke so that each leaf is exposed. Spoon breadcrumbs into each leaf. Pour just a little olive oil on the top and place the artichokes in a pot. Add enough water to come up to the middle of the four chokes. Cover the pot and steam until tender. Salt can be added to the water. When are they done? When you can pull a leaf from one of the artichokes, and it comes off easily.

How to eat them? There’s no easy way.
Leaves are removed one at a time and the soft breadcrumb is scraped off each leaf using your teeth. Just make sure that there’s an empty dish on the table for everyone to put their discarded leaves. I’ve had artichoke leaves dipped in hollandaise, and in just melted butter. I’ve included a photo of a dipping sauce of oil, vinegar and a chopped boiled egg, served this way at Laurent, a famous restaurant in NYC.

1 cup of breadcrumbs
6 garlic cloves
6 slices of peppered salami (or, pepperoni, or cooked sausage)
Salt & pepper to taste
3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese

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