Artichoke Hearts and Fennel

This is a wonderful base for a risotto and great as a side dish.  You can use other herbs, such as fresh thyme or tarragon – to taste, in place of the parsley. There are many internet sites explaining with pictures how to expose the heart of the artichoke.  I have described it below but pictures are helpful. Ingredients 3 to 4 prepared artichoke hearts 1 lemon bowl of cold water 1 to 2 baby fennel sliced about 2 tablespoons butter 3 green garlic "cloves" and stems, sliced like green onions freshly ground black pepper and salt 60 ml dry white wine 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice zest from one lemon 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Method 1. Trim the tops and stems from the fennel. You can save some of the fronds for garnish. Cut fennel bulbs into 1cm-thick slices, cutting lengthwise through the root end to keep slices intact. 2. Preparing Artichokes - Pour the water into a deep bowl. Halve the lemon and squeeze the juice into the water, then add the lemon half to the water. 3. Cut most of the stem off an artichoke, leaving about 3/4-inch (2 cm.).  Cut off most of the crown or leaves of the artichoke, about an inch (3 cm) from where the stem meets the base of the artichoke. 4. Pull off the tough leaves. Run a paring knife around the edge of the artichoke to remove any tough bits of skin and leaves. 5. Take a spoon and scoop out the fuzzy “choke” of the artichoke, inside. 6. Then use the paring knife to trim any last bits of skin on the stem. (If you’re not sure if something should be trimmed away or not – it will likely be tough, so get rid of it.) 7. Slide the trimmed artichoke into the lemon water, then repeat with the remaining artichokes. Artichokes turn brown immediately so do put them into the lemon water. 8. To cook - Put butter into an unheated sauté pan that has a cover. Heat the olive oil slowly. 9. At the same time, working relatively quickly, drain the artichokes, towel dry them, and slice them about 1 cm thick. 10. Add the artichoke and fennel slices to the heated butter, tossing them a few times to coat. Season with salt and  freshly ground black pepper. 11.Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add wine and lemon juice, and cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 12 minutes or so, removing the lid and stirring a few times, until the artichokes are tender. They’re done when you can poke a paring knife into one and it meets no resistance. 12. Remove lid, turn up the heat and stir in the parsley and lemon zest. Cook for another minute or so to get rid of any excess liquid and allow the fennel and artichoke to brown.  You may need to add a bit more butter or olive oil.  When just about done, add the green garlic and cook for one minute more. Garnish with fennel fronds.

Globe Artichokes in Oil

Ingredients 2 kg of small globe artichokes 500 ml white wine vinegar 1 litre water 5 bay leaves 1-2 cloves 1 tbsp salt olive oil 6 cloves of garlic extra bay leaves, oregano, basil, whole peppercorns handful of white flour


1. Remove all darker outer leaves down till the leaves seem pale green and fell tender to the touch. Cut the stem and end of the leaves, exposing the soft tender heart.

2. In a bowl, place fresh water and a handful of flour. Put the trimmed artichokes in the bowl.

3. In a saucepan, bring to boil ½ litre of wine vinegar, 1 litre of water, 1-2 bay leaves, cloves and the salt. When the mixture comes to the boil, drop the artichokes in and leave them to boil for 2-5 minutes. Then, remove the artichokes, allow them to drain and cool overnight.

4. Next morning, place the artichokes in a jar and cover with good olive oil, and garlic, bay leaves, oregano. basil, and/or whole peppercorns. You can also flavour with a few leaves of mint, garlic or a hot red chilli cut into small pieces.

5. Leave in the oil for approximately 2 months before eating.

Source: Preserving the Italian Way – Pietro Demaio

Artichokes - Steamed

Remove the outer leaves of the artichoke until the colour of the base of the leaves is a lighter yellow/green colour.  This is easy to do by pulling the leaves towards the stem.

Organic artichokes may have earwigs in them.  Usually the earwigs are only in the outer leaves so they should come out with this cleaning.

Using a knife, pare back the artichoke stem being careful to not cut too much off.  The stem softens when cooked and taste delicious.

Cut the tips of the artichokes off.  They will almost instantly begin to brown so do this right before steaming. Place the clean  artichokes in a steamer basket with ½ a lemon and 2 bay leaves.

Steam until heart is tender when pierced with a tip of a paring knife, and inner leaves pull out easily, 25 to 35 minutes; add more water to pot, if necessary.

Melt butter and place this in small bowls with freshly cracked pepper.

Peel the leaves off the artichoke dipping them in the butter and then use your teeth to remove the soft flesh from the base of the leaf.  Discard the leaf.  Continue in this fashion slowly, unveiling the soft centre of the artichoke.  The closer you get to the centre, the more of the leaf you can eat.  If the “choke” has fiberous hairs, gently remove these with a spoon.  They come out easily.  Consume the whole remaining stem and heart.