Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Muse, the Artichoke

"These things are just plain annoying. After all the trouble you go to, you get about as much actual 'food' out of eating an artichoke as you would from licking 30 or 40 postage stamps. Have the shrimp cocktail instead." -Miss Piggy

Oh, Miss Piggy. Yes- I would agree that, as far as veggies go, artichokes rank among the more arduous, but do not be discouraged! After a bit of recipe experimentation, Karl and I have discovered that these little babies (pun very much intended) are absolutely worth the effort.

Artichoke season runs from March to May, so if you want them fresh, check the produce section ASAP. But thankfully, artichokes are typically jarred in a marinade, so you could probably find them any time of the year. I stumbled upon a case of 9 baby artichokes while perusing the produce last weekend and picked them up with the intention of finding something to do with them. Seriously- I have never cooked a fresh artichoke before!

That said, Karl and I spent the evening perusing recipes and trying to figure out how exactly one even cooks an artichoke. And as it turns out, they're really not so difficult. The recipe that we came up with is pretty much an original piece of work- the only thing that's not our own is the Hollandaise sauce. Let us know what you guys think! We want to perfect the recipe, and the more people that give us feedback, the better it can become! :)

Thanks for reading and happy cooking!


Spring Sausage and Artichoke Saute with a Hollandaise Sauce
(serves 2-3)

  • Italian sausage (4 logs)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 9 baby artichokes, washed
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 3 tsp thyme
  • 2 lemons
  • 4 leaves basil, rolled and chopped
  • salt and pepper, for taste
For Hollandaise sauce
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper, for taste
  1. Start cooking your sausage early! In a lightly greased, non-stick frying pan, saute the sausage over low heat. Cooking it like this takes anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 hours, but the sausage won't dry out and will retain most of its flavor. Turn the sausage occasionally (every ten minutes will do).
  2. Prep the artichokes as described below.
  3. In a large frying pan over medium-low heat, melt 1 tbsp butter. Once butter has just melted, add chopped garlic and saute 1 min, moving constantly. Add onions and cook 1 min. Add chopped red and yellow bell peppers, artichokes, fennel seed, thyme, juice from second lemon, and chopped basil. Add a bit of salt and pepper here to taste, but remember that the Hollandaise sauce will be eaten over the vegetables, so don't salt too much! Continue to saute vegetables until tender.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl until it has thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan with simmering water, but don't let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. (It's important that the egg not get too hot or they will begin to scramble!) Continue whisking the mixture and slowly add the melted butter. Whisk the mixture until it has thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from the heat, whisk in cayenne, salt, and pepper, and keep in a warm place until ready to use.
  5. Once the sausage has finished cooking (no more pink inside), cut it into bite sized pieces and add it to the vegetables, stirring and sauteing over low heat. Allow the sausage and veggies to saute together for about 10 minutes.
Karl and I served the sausage and vegetables with the Hollandaise sauce drizzled over the top. As an appetizer, we had red wine-soaked goat cheese on toast and Pinot Grigio. If you go all out and get the goat cheese, add a bit of cheese and chopped basil as a garnish!


Artichoke Prep*:

  • Bend back outer petals, snapping them off at the base.
  • Continue snapping off petals until the leaves are half green (at the top) and half yellow.
  • Using a stainless steel knife, cut the top cone of the leaves at the point where the yellow meets the green.
  • Cut the stem level with the base and trim any remaining green from the base of the artichoke.
  • Plunge artichoke hearts into acidified water. (A quart of water with 1 lemon's juice.)
  • Chop hearts into halves or quarters before sauteing.

  • *Artichoke preparation courtesy of the California Artichoke Advisory Board.

    1 comment:

    1. oooh! i have some super good artichoke recipes you'd like! i will try to send them to you soon :D