I got a couple of gi-normous globe artichokes at our local Trader Joe’s last week. They were so beautiful and fresh, shipped directly from the cold misty weather of Castroville south of Monterrey Bay in Central California. Not too bad for our carbon footprint, I think…
Because we went out for dinner several nights that week, there was no time to eat these delectable things. Instead of making them my usual way, I chose to pickle them to enjoy on a less hectic week.
I’ve cut and pasted the instructions on how to peel, trim, and remove the chokes from the inedible parts from that earlier post on fresh baby artichokes, as it’s always the same, so why bother torturing myself with trying to re-write it in a new way?
Rinse baby artichokes in cold water. Using your fingers, remove about 3 to 4 layers of the outer petals/ leaves. Then cut about ½ of artichoke top off. Using a potato peeler, shave the rough outer layer off the stem and base. Don’t cut the stems off! These taste great and make the finished dish look much more interesting and exotic. Cut the very tip of the stem off. Then split artichoke in half cutting it lengthwise (from stem through the crown of the bud.) Carve the choke (the hairy/spiny center) out with a spoon or a sharp paring knife. Immediately toss prepared artichoke into a large bowl filled with cold water and the juice of a lemon along with the squeezed lemon peel itself. This will keep the artichoke from turning brown. Repeat with all artichokes.
This pickling required a week long wait for the flavors to marry before we could try them. But it was well worth the wait! These were delicious! We had some last Saturday for lunch and it tasted great. I think I am going to prepare a big batch next time to leave in the fridge and eat as a side dish to accompany sandwiches, pasta, etc. Yum! Artichokes are very versatile and enliven any dish with their delicate and complex flavor.
2 large artichoke, cleaned as above, cut in halves
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup water
1 tbsp black pepper corn
2 cloves garlic, slivered
3 sprigs fresh oregano
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp kosher salt or less if using sea salt (salt must be non-iodized)
2 dried red hot chili peppers
¼ tsp sugar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Steam artichoke halves for about 5 minutes or until they feel ‘ al dente’ when pierced with a fork. Remove from heat to a glass jar.
Using a stainless steel pan, combine water, vinegar, black and red peppers, oregano, garlic, salt, sugar and basil. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir to make sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and pour over artichokes. Pour olive oil on top. The ‘chokes should be completely covered. Close the lid and let it cool down to room temperature. Move it to the fridge and let it cure for a week. Give jar a quick shake every day and return to the fridge.
After the bother of cleaning the artichokes, this recipe was surprisingly easy and really, really, really good!!!