We saw a basket of small artichokes while visiting our favorite farm stand yesterday. The stand is the type with produce picked right behind it, a scale, notepad, dirty pen, and wooden money box. I love this place.
I'm a little intimidated by artichokes, but with Chris's encouragement decided to take six home. They were each about the size of a humble cupcake. And very pretty, green tinged with purple. I'm not sure of the variety, but I do recall reading no chokes! on the sign. This seemed a good thing.
Here's what I learned.
Trimming them was somewhat meditative, like shelling peas or snipping the stem ends off green beans. I used this guide and let this recipe serve as inspiration.
I skipped the lemon, garlic, red pepper, and parsley. Not because these ingredients wouldn't have been terrific, I just didn't have them on hand. I did quarter the trimmed artichokes and I did saute them in olive oil and sprinkle them with sea salt and coarse ground pepper while waiting to see them just begin to brown.
But before any of this I remembered I had some leftover anchovy breadcrumbs from a recent dinner. Rachel changed my life with these. I'm sure I've mentioned them before. Thank you, Rachel.
So, just as my artichokes began to brown I sprinkled a generous portion of anchovy breadcrumbs into the pan and tossed the artichokes around to coat them and heat everything through. I tipped it all onto a dish and we shared it as a first course. Fabulous experiment results!
We should have purchased twice as many.
Oh, and guess what else happened yesterday. We saw our first badger. Pretty amazing. They are bold and handsome little creatures.