So, yeah, I realize it took more than a week to add Part III to my Spring Chicken Dinner….but I was busy. Busy with work mostly, but also with household happenings and other obligations, so I decided to take a little break. Hey, better late than never–and artichokes are still in season! At least they are in my backyard. They’re growing like gangbusters! Which is fine, because I am a big fan.
For these babies; which I purchased as babies, as I can’t seem to snip them off that little in my yard–it seems a shame to not let them get big (more for me to eat, you see); you will have to trim them up and soak them in acidulated water so they don’t turn an ugly color. Acidulated is a fancy word for water with a lot of lemon juice (or lime or orange) in it. If you leave peeled or trimmed artichokes exposed to air they turn kind of a dirty brownish-gray color. Not exactly the best color for something you want to eat.
Anyway, peel away all of the tough outer leaves and chop the tops off, maybe a third of the way down. Baby artichokes don’t have the prickly “choke” inside, so there’s no need to scrape away at the middles. I cut mine in half so they’d cook quicker, but you can leave them whole if you wish.
When I was in culinary school, one time we were all trimming a million baby artichokes for a catering they were doing. We were supposed to use a vegetable peeler to trim away the bottoms, leaving as much of the stem and bottom intact. Well….needless to say, some of us didn’t have vegetable peelers in our knife kits (ME) so we (I) were using a paring knife. Let me just tell you, we (I) got in trouble for that. We (I) were cutting away too much of that precious good stuff! I can tell you that I have learned my lesson from that, and now only use a vegetable peeler when trimming the stems and bottoms of my precious artichokes.
This little side dish is super simple to make–which is perfect when you’re making a bunch of other things. Approximately six minutes before you want to eat–like while your meat is resting–just brown the artichokes a little in the chicken drippings or in some olive oil. I let them cook about three to four minutes, or until they were beginning to feel soft to the touch.
I then tossed in a few cloves of slivered garlic and added some wine–probably about a cup of dry white wine–and brought it up to a boil. Let them simmer away until the wine is evaporated. You can add a few squeezes of lemon too, if you’re so inclined.
By the time the wine is gone the artichokes should be tender and ready. If they aren’t done yet, just add a splash of water and let them cook some more. Pierce one with the tip of a knife to test for doneness. Give them a little salt and pepper and you’re ready to eat!