Hey y’all! I’m in Texas, so now I’m saying y’all. Not really, but I’m thinking it. I have the most bland, middle-of-the-country sounding accent, so saying that would sound really, really stupid, but I still like thinking it. It sounds nice. Y’all. It just seems so friendly, like the greeting is extremely personal or coming from someone you already know. I guess that’s just the South for you, right? I’m really loving Austin. I sort of knew I’d like it, but I didn’t quite know how much! It reminds me a lot of Portland, which is my One True Love of a city, but it’s really warm and sunny, which is great. Kramer and I have been eating like monsters since we got here. I’m on a breakfast-taco-only diet. There’s nothing wrong with that, though. I think that the green chiles that are in my queso have some vitamins in them, so I can tell myself I’ve eaten something green in the past few days and feel OK about it. I’m actually going to leave soon and grab another taco from a place near our Airbnb, then sit on line at Franklin’s for who knows how long. But people keep telling me it’s worth it, so it better be good! Really, though, I have no doubts.
So – artichokes! This was my first time cleaning and trimming a fresh artichoke, and I gotta say, it was a learning experience, but after cleaning a couple, I feel like I’ve got it down pat. It’s a lot easier than I thought it would be. Whoever picked up an artichoke and figured out that you could take the outer leaves off (and maybe steam them and dip them in butter) and get down to the tender, delicious heart was truly a genius. Kramer is actually a huge artichoke fan, and I’ve become one, too, after being married to him for however-many-years (let’s not age ourselves, shall we?). Recently, Ocean Mist Farms hooked me up with a big bushel of fresh artichokes and asked me to come up with a recipe using them, as well as let y’all know that you can win a trip to Monterey, California for the 2016 Castroville Artichoke Food & Wine Festival! California sounds pretty nice right about now – I personally am not looking forward to going home to New York where it’s cold and rainy. I would much rather be in Monterey, soaking up the sun, going on an artichoke field tour, and doing a little beer and wine tasting. All you have to do to enter is share a photo or video of yourself cooking and eating a fresh artichoke, and I’m here to help you out with this warm, buttery artichoke salad. For this preparation, I treated my artichokes to a warm bath of butter, salt, and lemon, then topped everything off with freshly shaved Parmesan. My friend Jeena came by to sample the goods and she continued eating until I cleaned everything up and it was time for us to go wherever it was we were planning to go. This is the kind of thing you have a hard time not eating with your fingers as you plate it, I promise. The nutty, earthy artichoke pairs perfectly with the bright lemon and sharp Parmesan, and the olives bring a nice saltiness and brininess that I didn’t know I needed until I threw them on there at the last minute because that’s usually how I cook. I hope you’ll conquer your fresh artichoke Everest, make this salad, and enter for a chance to win a trip to Monterey! If you win, please take a selfie with that artichoke mascot and send it to me.
It’s super important to keep your artichoke hearts in lemon water until you’re ready to cook! Plus then your hands and kitchen will smell really lemony, which is a huge bonus.
Warm, buttery, and delicious.
Once cooked, try to stop yourself from eating them straight from the pan with your fingers before you finish plating. I dare you.
- 8 fresh artichokes, cleaned and quartered
- 3 lemons
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or fleur de sel
- 2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane or finely minced
- 2 tablespoons pitted and halved Kalamata olives
- ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- Set out a bowl of ice water and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the water. Drop the halves of lemons into the water, as well. This will be where you keep your cleaned artichokes until you're ready to cook. Quarter your 2nd lemon and use this to rub on the artichokes as you clean them to keep them from browning.
- To clean your artichokes, pluck away the outer leaves until you've reached the soft center. Trim the stem of the artichoke, rub a little lemon on the end, and then cut off the top third of the artichoke. Use a knife or a peeler to trim the tough outer portion of the artichoke away, until you've reach the center heart. Use a spoon to scrape away the fuzzy portion, or the "choke." Once your heart is cleaned, rub the heart all over with lemon and drop it in the lemon water while you prepare the rest.
- Once you're ready to cook. place your butter in a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is sizzling, quarter your artichoke hearts and place them in the pan. Let them cook on each side for about 2 minutes, until nicely browned and crispy.
- Once browned all over, add in your garlic and salt and toss to combine. Squeeze half a lemon over everything, then place the artichokes on a serving platter. Pour any buttery goodness from the pan over the dish, then top with your Kalamata olives, Parmesan cheese, and a little lemon zest, if you like. This is delicious warm and buttery from the pan, of course, but also quite good cold!