Friday, April 2, 2010
Artichokes: To bake or not bake?
ot quite sure how I discovered this recipe for baked artichokes, but anything with artichokes is pretty high on my interest list, so it went into the "keep track of" mental file for future use...
I grew up in a strong tradition of artichokes! To my memory, I believe my dear Albertan parents discovered artichokes while residing in sunny California in the late '60s. When we moved to British Columbia in the early '70s, the artichoke tradition came along with us. It was not uncommon for artichokes (in season) to be a part of our Friday night dinner tradition, a habit that continues for them to this day. (Literally. I got emails from both my parents today, and BOTH of them referenced artichokes for dinner. See, this nut doesn't fall far from the nut tree, no?)
As the only artichoke-lover in my home, it's a rather hit-and-miss affair for me and the blessed thistle... But, when husband pointed out a 4-pack of artichokes at Costco while we were stocking up on vacation supplies, I went for it. (And not being an artichoke fan, how sweet of him to point them out.)
I approached my artichokes with even more simplicity than the recipe above; theirs included basil and some chicken stock, lemon and garlic. I like my artichokes pure. I simply rinsed them and then drizzled a couple of teaspoons of olive oil over them, covered them with tin foil and baked them in the oven. I had the oven a bit high in temperature--400 degrees F--and that might have been a touch too high, as the artichokes got a bit tough on the outer leaves (even with the tin foil cover). But I have to say that the flavor was wonderful. Even though I didn't use a lot of olive oil, the flavor permeated the whole artichoke, and the slow roasting seemed to really bring out the flavor. It was entirely enjoyable and I will use a lower temperature next time, and maybe in a Dutch oven with a cast-iron lid, rather than just the tin foil.
Definitely one to make again! Make sure you've got plenty of time before you'll go wild with hunger, as this process takes a bit--I think mine took almost an hour and a half in the oven (I have a hard time believing the recipe that says they'll be done in 45-50 minutes). Artichokes in general aren't a quick fix, so plan ahead!
(As for the pink terry cloth in the picture above, I am not going to say anything about that. Other than: What? You don't stay in your robe until 2 p.m. when on vacation? I feel sorry for you. And: Yes, I do take pictures of food on my lap, apparently.)