Food for Soul

Recipes for the artichoke lover in all of us

BY BEN MIMS COOKING COLUMNIST 

Preparing fresh artichokes is one kitchen task I will never do (I have my reasons). Instead, I make use of the best prepared artichokes I can find — canned, jarred or frozen — to make simple, delicious starters and appetizers that allow the beguiling flavor of artichokes to shine, uninhibited by other star players. There are simple “oven-fried” hors d’oeuvres using oil-packed artichoke quarters; a smoky baba ghanouj-like spread using grilled artichokes; and for the canned loyalists among us, one recipe for artichoke tea sandwiches that my mom made for me growing up, and a carciofi alla Romana tart, which takes all the flavors of its namesake dish and puts them into a stunning, simple crisp pie.

But if you’re staunchly settled in the fresh artichoke camp, don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of fresh artichoke recipes on latimes.com/recipes that utilize both globe and baby artichokes in all their alien glory. Simple boiled artichokes get splayed open and drenched in a sizzling shallot and sherry vinegar dressing. Baby artichokes are braised in an über-Mediterranean blend of saffron, kalamata olives and almonds. The Greek avgolemono soup provides the ideal bright, acidic base for meaty artichoke bottoms.

Elsewhere, whole steamed artichokes are stuffed with brie, white wine and mustard for a stunningly rich upgrade on a simple drawn butter dip. And the most classic of all, a simple artichoke soup, is enriched with potatoes, cream and egg yolks and blended until silky smooth.

Whether you go the fresh or prepared route, there’s no denying that artichokes have the range; all the more reason to make something with them now and remember why they’re so great no matter the form.

Artichokes With Sizzling Shallot Vinaigrette

This sizzling shallot vinaigrette works just as well spooned over cleaned artichoke bottoms or roasted/steamed baby artichokes. If you have some left over, use it to dress cooked broccoli, cauliflower or any other vegetable you like.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours.

Artichokes With Sizzling Shallot Vinaigrette

Artichokes Braised With Saffron, Black Olives and Almonds

This quick braise is extremely versatile, taking well to switching up the olives — use Castelvetrano or salt-cured black olives — or nuts, like pistachios or hazelnuts.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 30 minutes.

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Aginares Avgolemono

Though thought of only as a soup, the Greek avgolemono — made of lemon juice and chicken broth thickened with an egg — stands in for a luscious, tart sauce for artichoke bottoms here.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes.

Artichokes Stuffed With Brie

An upgrade from simple butter or mayonnaise, this rich filling of brie cheese and white wine spiked with whole-grain mustard dressing pairs beautifully with meaty, steamed artichokes.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 40 minutes.

Cream of Artichoke Soup

A classic for a reason, artichokes blend with cream and potatoes in this silky soup, lending it a pastel green color and bright flavor that’s unmistakable.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours.

cream of artichoke soup

Have a cooking question?

L.A. Times Dinner Series

Chef Enrique Olvera,the force behind Mexico City’s Pujol, Manhattan’s Cosme and the recently opened Damian in L.A.’s Arts District, will be one of the big names at the next L.A. Times Dinner Series event, a four-course meal in Los Angeles and New York on April 24. In a conversation themed around awards season and hosted by L.A. Times arts and urban design columnist Carolina A. Miranda, Olvera will be talking with filmmaker, screenwriter and award-winning director Fernando Frias de la Parra (“I’m No Longer Here”). The L.A. meal from Damian (to be picked up by diners before the event) features costillas enmoladas (with pork ribs and belly, kimchi and mole negro.) In New York, the meal from Cosme centers around the restaurant’s duck carnitas.

Tickets are $105 per person, with a minimum of two tickets per household. The charity partner for the event is Project Angel Food.


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Ben Mims

Ben Mims is the cooking columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He has written three cookbooks and has worked as a food editor and recipe developer for several food media publications, such as Lucky Peach, Food & Wine, Saveur, Food Network and Buzzfeed/Tasty.

https://www.latimes.com

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