Other than the infamous spinach and artichoke dip found on just about every restaurant appetizer menu, do any of us really cook with these interesting looking vegetables much at home? I’d assume we don’t. I know I don’t. However, they’re incredibly versatile and unique in their own right. Give them a try this week!
-The Mediterranean region provides much of the world’s supply of artichokes, while California provides nearly 100% of the U.S. crop
-In Italy, artichoke hearts in oil are the usual vegetable for ‘spring’ section of the ‘Four Seasons’ pizza (with olives for summer, mushrooms for autumn, and prosciutto for winter). A recipe well known in Rome is Jewish-style artichokes, which are deep-fried whole. (Wikipedia)
-Artichokes are in season from March to May
-Choose artichokes with tight leaves and store unwashed in your fridge’s bin for 3-5 days
-To cook from fresh, soak them for four hours with the juice of a lemon to prevent discoloration and promote tenderness. Remove the outer leaves, trim the stem and snip the tip of the bulb, then pull apart the leaves. Remove the inner core and steam for 40 minutes.
-Artichokes are excellent sources of fiber and potassium
-One artichoke has 4 grams of protein
-Toss marinated artichokes into salads or onto pizzas
-Try this healthy spinach and artichoke dip
I’ve made this twice now and it’s pretty good. Being cheese-free, it’s potentially the only lasagna my picky husband will eat. Do yourself a favor and buy a rotisserie chicken from the store–you’ll have dinner on the table in a flash. You don’t need quite as many breadcrumbs as the recipe calls for–even a sprinkle of panko would be sufficient.
2 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 yellow onion, diced medium
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped marinated artichoke hearts, divided, plus 1 tablespoon marinade
Salt and pepper
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add celery and onion; cook until translucent, 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Increase heat and slowly stir in broth. Bring to a boil, stirring, and cook until liquid thickens, 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken and 1/2 cup artichokes; season with salt and pepper. Mix breadcrumbs with marinade; season with salt and pepper.
- Spread 1/2 cup chicken mixture in a 2-quart baking dish. Top with 2 noodles and 1 1/2 cups chicken mixture; repeat. Top with remaining 2 noodles, chicken mixture, and 1 cup artichokes, then scatter breadcrumbs on top. Bake until top is deep golden brown, 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes.
Holly R. Layer received a B. A. in Journalism from Penn State and served four years in the U. S. Air Force before deciding to go back to school to become a Registered Dietician. She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related. An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy. Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive! You can find her at www.thefrozenpineapple.com.