Artichokes Two Ways

Carciofi Due Modi

As I’ve mentioned to a few of you, I’ve had a devil of a time finding “baby” artichokes here in Chicago. Sure, I can get the goliaths year-round and, about this time of the year, the stores have some that are at about half that size. The truly small artichokes, however, the ones with no choke, have been impossible to find and it’s not for lack of trying. I routinely shop at 4 different groceries, 2 ethnic markets, and 2 additional fruit/vegetable markets. Whether I’m searching too late/early in the season or I’m living in a heretofore unknown baby artichoke-free zone, it’s been well over 10 years since the green beauties have graced my table — until now.

Recently, my vegetarian friend, Cynthia, and I decided to head West to the hinterlands. We’d both heard tales of an Italian market “out there” but never ventured to find out for ourselves. Not much more than a half-hour later, we were there and what a store! First off, the place was huge, easily the largest Italian market that I’ve ever seen. They had everything from antipasti to zuppe, and very often several choices for everything in between.  The best surprise, though, was found in the produce department.

There, at the end of one of the aisles, was not 1 but 2 displays of artichokes and, much to my delight, one of them was nothing but small artichokes. To say I was happy is a gross understatement.  So, with Cynthia perusing the rest of the fruits and vegetables, I got to work selecting only the smallest of the small artichokes. I didn’t care how long it took but I was going to find them. About 10 minutes later, I had amassed some 5 pounds of the edible thistles, all about the size of a goose egg. We soon finished our shopping and snacked on mini-conolli as we drove back to civilization. The next morning, I couldn’t wait to get started preparing my find.

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Acid Washed

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Preparing Baby Artichokes

Just like when preparing the goliaths, use a sharp knife to chop off the top of each artichoke. I usually chop just above the tips of the largest outer leaves. Next, peel off a couple of layers of the tough, outermost leaves, revealing the vegetable’s soft inner heart. Using a paring knife, peel the base and stalk of each artichoke and, depending on the size, cut it in half or quarters. Being so small, there is no choke to remove and be sure to save as much of the stem as possible. When finished with each, immediately rub the sections with a halved lemon and place in acidulated water. (Take a large bowl of cold water and add to it the juice of 2 lemons, as well as the lemons themselves.) This “bath” will prevent the vegetable from discoloring due to oxidation.  Continue until all the artichokes have been cleaned and trimmed.

Next bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add all the trimmed artichokes, and, when the water returns to the boil, leave them to blanch for about 3 minutes. Drain them and immediately place the blanched sections into a bowl of ice water to halt the cooking process. Once chilled, removed them from the water, pat them dry, and they are now ready for use. In my case, having bought 5 pounds of the green gems, that meant the freezer for most of them. Small amounts, destined for pasta or pizza, were individually bagged, as were larger quantities which would be prepared as side dishes in the near future. Once labelled, the bags were placed in the freezer.

So, with a treasure of cleaned and trimmed baby artichokes stashed away, what are you going to do with them? Well — and this is where the due modi come into play — I’ve got 2 of Mom’s recipes to share today.

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Fry Babies

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Mom’s Deep Fried Artichokes

Mom didn’t prepare baby artichokes like this very often but, when she did, they certainly didn’t linger long on the serving platter. I think you’ll find the same will hold true today, no matter how you serve them: as a side, an appetizer, or snack on game day. And if you’re working with previously trimmed and blanched artichokes, they’re a snap to prepare.

Whether using freshly blanched or just thawed, pat the artichokes dry as best you can. Use standard breading methods to coat the artichokes. Since I prefer a thin coating on these, I do not use bread crumbs. Instead, I’ll coat the artichoke pieces in seasoned flour (paprika & onion powder) first before dipping them in an egg wash that’s been seasoned with salt & pepper. Then it’s back into flour again before deep frying in vegetable oil that’s been heated from 350˚ to 360˚ F. Since the baby artichokes were previously blanched, they won’t need to cook for a long time. When the coating is golden brown, they’re done. Remove them to drain on paper towels, season with salt, and serve. Although fine just as they are, I’ll sometimes serve them with lemon wedges and/or a simple aioli of mayonnaise, lemon juice, and a little grated garlic. If possible, prepare the aioli a few hours before serving to give the flavors a chance to blend.

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Mom’s Sautéed Artichokes

Mom most often prepared these artichokes as she did many vegetables. (See my Vegetables/Verdura posting.) If using fresh artichokes, trim and blanch as indicated above. If cleaned but frozen, allow to defrost before use. In a frying pan over medium heat, add a couple tbsp of olive oil. Once heated, add some chopped garlic, wait a minute, and then add the artichokes. Wait another 2 minutes and then add a little tomato paste or chopped tomato, “For color,” as Mom would say. Add a splash of dry white wine, season with salt & pepper, and continue to sauté until the wine is all but gone and the artichokes are cooked to your liking. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh parsley.

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Notes

This is all well and good, so long as you can get baby artichokes. But what if you can’t? Both of these dishes can be prepared with artichokes of any size.  Just be aware that larger-sized artichokes have developed an inedible “choke.” It’s a fibrous mass found at the base of the bulb and it must be removed. Once you’ve trimmed and halved an artichoke, use a paring knife or teaspoon to scoop out the fibrous mass. Once the choke has been removed and depending upon how large the artichoke is, you may need to cut each half into halves or thirds before proceeding. As you may have guessed, because of their size, these artichoke pieces should be blanched a few minutes longer than the “babies” were and will require longer cooking times, too. Personally, I prefer to stuff and roast the larger artichokes, leaving the sautéing and deep frying for the more tender babies.

Coming Attractions

Today I shared Mom’s favorite recipes for preparing baby artichokes. Next week I’ll share my Pasta Primavera recipe that features baby artichokes, of course, as well as a couple of other Springtime treats.

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116 thoughts on “Artichokes Two Ways

  1. I simply adore baby artichokes!! This recipe looks superb and is bringing back many memories – I used to boil and marinate them, and your sauteed version looks yummy! Thank you John!

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  2. This is so exciting to read- our artichokes have lots of little secondary buds and I was wondering how to prepare them. My mother had baby artichokes years ago in Rome and she still talks about it. What a surprise it will be for her to pull them out of the freezer on her next visit!

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    • Fresh, baby artichokes? Do you live in Heaven? I’m so glad you’ve found today’s post useful. My goals for this blog are to record, preserve, and share my family’s recipes. Every time someone prepares one, it’s a success for me and keeps Mom’s recipes “alive.” Thank you!

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    • Thanks, Roger. That store will keep me happy for years to come, no doubt about it. Today’s sautéed recipe is typical of Mom’s cooking style. Fresh ingredients, minimal spices, and easy to prepare. After years of emptying half of a spice rack into my dishes, I’ve finally realized the wisdom of her ways. 🙂

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  3. Gorgeous, we love our artichokes here. So glad you managed to eventually find them. Wish I could send you a crate or two! these little ones are so good because you can eat so much of the artichike and don´t have to deal with the choke. Here they also thinly (very thinly) slice them and eat then raw in salads. Now I´m craving fried artichokes 🙂

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    • How I envy you, Tanya, with your abundance of these little beauties. Why we cannot find them here is beyond me. I’ve never tried them raw and in Rome, they slice them thinly and fry them. I’m heading back tomorrow to the store to see if they have any more. I’ll be heading for a visit with Zia soon and I’d like to bring some with me for her. She’ll love the surprise — so long as she doesn’t read this comment. 🙂

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  4. I love artichokes, and yes, so hard to find the small ones, my Nonna always made us stuffed artichokes when in season, with pork and veal mince and we’d skim each leaf with our teeth..probably not a good restaurant look! LOL! x

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    • ((laughing)) Yes, Yvette, I don’t order artichokes or spare ribs when dining out. My family stuffed them with bread crumbs, garlic, grated cheese, and parsley. I like your Nonna’s idea of using pork & veal mince to stuff them. That would take these to a whole new level. I hope you’ll share the recipe with us one day, Yvette. 🙂

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    • Plan your trip in the Spring, Mandy, and I’ll make sure you have plenty. Tanya says that she has crates of them. Maybe we should encourage her to start an export business. I’m sure she could do it in her spare time… 🙂

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  5. Your Springtime food is spot on John! And congratulations on finding these treasures, I know I’d love both dishes. I have a couple of plants that produce well, and I have always left them to get to a decent size and then eat them like that. But now you have me thinking and I could pick and blanch them in small batches until I have enough little ones to make a serving for 2. Either that or I need to plant more 🙂

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    • I know nothing about growing artichokes, Claire, but sure wish I could. I’m heading back to that store one more time for baby artichokes and then I’ll leave the rest for my fellow artichoke-loving Chicagoans. They do make a good pasta. 🙂

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    • They really are good, MD, aren’t they? Their price ha almost doubled since I first found them so we must be getting to the end of the supply. I’m going to get 1 more bagful and live off my frozen stash until next Spring. Of course, they’ll never last that long but i will enjoy them for however long they do last.

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  6. Oh, don’t I wish I knew where to find some of these! One of my favorite quick lunches when we’re in Paris is roasted baby artichokes in a vinegrette…
    Not that we’re headed back any time soon… 😦
    No one I know of grows them, either…need to give it a try one of these days.

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    • I wonder what has gone on with the artichoke farming, Marie. When I was a boy, Dad brought them home by the bag. Years later, I’d see them frozen in bags at the groceries. Well, not anymore. I’m hoping that one of these Saturdays, some farmer will show up with some at the farmers market. Michigan’s weather is behind ours this time of year so I may be lucky enough to find some.

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  7. I love artichokes but always am leery of preparing them, your instructions are clear and easy to understand and follow, now I am going to look out for baby artichoke and will certainly get extra for mey freezer. Thnks for the tutorial.

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    • You’re welcome, Norma. I think you’ll find baby artichokes are much easier to prepare than their big “brothers”. And you can do so much more with them, too. I hope you do find some and enjoy them as much as we do.

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  8. This year I’ve seen baby artichokes in the market a grand total of one day before Easter, and then they were gone. I’ve prepared them once, and without any good instruction on selecting them or preparing them. They were good, but discolored a bit and perhaps a few were too large. I love this informative post, and now feel prepared to make these…and love the idea of freezing some for later…if I can find any! Even if I can’t, I’m adding artichokes to the list for the weekend. Artichokes are one of my favorites and I can’t wait to see your primavera!

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    • Oh, no, Betsy! I would rather not see them at all rather than only one day and not be able to buy them. I wrote this post as a tutorial for the younger Bartolini “Clan” members, those who never had the benefit of watching Grandma or Great-Grandma — that would be my Mom & her Sister, my Zia — fix baby artichokes. And, judging by some of the comments, others like yourself are finding it useful, as well. As for the freezing, I blanch and freeze a number of vegetables. Too often the quantity sold is too much for my dinner. Blanching & freezing has cut down on a lot of waste.

      I’m making 1 more “artichoke run” tomorrow. I hope they still have ’em. Fingers crossed …

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  9. Oh what’s not to love! Both artichoke dishes look amazing…I cannot imagine anything better than deep fried. LOL! But the sauteed look delicious, and will probably be my best bet! Sometimes I just shake my head…we have baby artichokes much of the year and not at all difficult to find–and I never buy them because I really didn’t know what to do with them! I feel almost guilty thinking you had to go on such a hunt. I’ll bet this Italian market will be a new go-to place, though. And I can assure you I can’t wait to enjoy the baby artichoke recipes. I don’t know that I’ve ever had them, but there’s nothing here that doesn’t call my name! Debra

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    • I must admit to being surprised to find such a large display of baby artichokes, given that it is the only store I’ve found that has them. And, yes, even though it’s a drive through city traffic, I’m quickly becoming a regular. In fact, I’ll be going tomorrow for one last harvest of baby artichokes — if they’ve any left. Now that the farmers markets are going again, I’m shifting my shopping from stores to stalls. As for these recipes, they’re much like most of Zia & Mom’s dishes. Fresh ingredients, a very few spices, cooked simply. Even now, when watching a cooking show, Zia will comment every time a cook works from a list of ingredients an arm long. That’s not how they were taught at all.

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  10. I love baby artichokes! They are the best. They can be hard to find even here where we grow them. Mom always says you want the biggest and the smallest for artichokes. I like the sound of your mother’s saute, too.

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    • Hello, Sharyn. I’ve never heard your Mom’s saying before but that’s how I’ve always bought my artichokes. The smaller ones are perfect for today’s recipes and the largest are far easier to stuff. Either way, I, too, love ’em! 🙂

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  11. I love the baby ones too, John but they are difficult to find here as well. Maybe if you speak to the produce manager at the Italian market, they could order you a box of them.

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    • Is it me, Karen, or doesn’t it seem like they were more readily available years ago? Your idea of talking with the produce manager is good one and I’ll keep that in mind next Spring. If I can get a crate of artichokes I’d be in heaven — or at least the neighborhood. Thanks for the suggestion. 🙂

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  12. I was scrolling through my morning emails when I found yours. I had to stop and make myself a latte.. settled in and began reading. For starters.. I could just picture you in that Italian grocers.. a huge grin when you’d made your big find!! Secondly.. “driving back to civilization”? I thought you were leaving civilization when you left that shop to head back home. Third.. our artichokes are gargantuan (so as to withstand Canadian winters?) but I’ll be on the hunt for the tiny ones now. Fourthly.. those recipes made me the “cry baby”.. because I’d love to have a little plate to sample this evening for dinner.. I can’t wait to see the rest of your recipes using these. I didn’t know you could freeze these after blanching!? I’ve stuffed our monster artichokes before.. but these.. oh, such sweet little tender morsels.. I know, I’m carrying on, I’ll post this now.. xo Smidge (do you think we could grow artichokes??)

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    • Once again, Barb, your comment has me grinning ear-to-ear! I lived in Chicago for 13 years without a car and, in that time, maybe went to the “burbs” all of 5 or 6 times. My Chicago was The Loop and The Lakefront. So, “civilization”, for me, will always be Chicago. That store, on the other hand, is The Mountaintop, for if you’d heard me describe it to friends, surely you would have thought I’d “been to The Mountaintop.” Freezing after blanching is a trick I use with a few vegetables and really cuts down on waste. It, also, makes some veggies much more readily available come dinnertime. A quick sauté and you’ve got a side dish. Artichokes can be grown in our climate but they won’t survive our winters. We’d have to either start them new each year or transplant new plants. As I recall, the plants are pretty large so you’d need quite a bit of space to grow them.
      I’m glad you enjoyed this post, Barb, and thanks for the grins. 🙂

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  13. Deep fried artichokes!?!? Stop that. Must make them soon. I agree re finding baby artichokes, but they really are the best. Wow, 10 years since having them? What a special treat for you! Both recipes sound fantastic.

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    • Thanks, Caroline. You really do need to try the deep fried recipe. They are a perfect game-day snack and most people have never tried them. Just be sure to make way more than you think you’ll need. They just disappear!

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  14. Both ways these baby artichokes look delicious! And the market is a great find – I hope you’ll be able to go back to it easily. We never see the big artichokes here at all – they grow in Brittany in northern France and don’t seem to be imported to the south. So all the artichokes I can find in the garden or the markets are small ones, but ours are violet rather than green. So glad you found them!

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    • Thank you! Funny what is and isn’t available. I’ve seen the purple ones but it’s been a very long time. Maybe I need to find a different market. 🙂
      I’ve noticed that your artichokes have such nice, long stems attached. That is not the case with these that I’ve been cooking with and it’s too bad. The stem is a very tasty part of the vegetable. I’ve got a lot of nerve complaining about no stems. Until about 2 weeks ago, I had no baby artichokes at all!

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  15. Now that I know what to do with them, I’ll start looking out for baby artichokes! The artichoke doesn’t seem that common round my way, but that could just be because I’m not looking for them. Now I have a reason to 🙂

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  16. I love artichokes, baby or otherwise! I can’t say though that I’ve seen them in our neck of the woods for a very long time (the babies). I love it when I find a neat store that has interesting things to see and finally something that I’ve been hoping for. I can just imagine how truly excited you really were at the time!

    Both of your artichoke recipes sound delicious. I’m going to print them both because I think that they would work very well for some of my hors d’ ouevre nights! 🙂

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    • Yes, April, I was ecstatic finding them, no doubt about it. To be honest, I’m surprised how many commenters here have had problems finding them, too. I thought it was more a local thing and wonder why so few are now available.

      I agree, both would make fine additions to your appetizer night. And if you’ve already trimmed and blanched them, they can be prepared in minutes. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do 🙂

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  17. I love the “baby” ones, too, but seldom find them here. A year or two ago, we found some at a farmers’ market, but they were $1 apiece—and though we bought a few, it felt really decadent! Sure, I’ll say the sautéed ones look good. But, let’s be honest: those “Fry Babies” look incredible!

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    • Part of the surprise, for me, was paying only .79/lb! I couldn’t believe it. Now, though, they’ve almost doubled to $1.49/lb but that’s because I think their season is ending. And those Fry Babies are good. Mom hit that one out of the park!

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  18. Firstly is it half an hour MY way? If so I want directions! How wonderful to find this market. My choice,is the sauteed artichokes.. they look divine. I do grow artichoke here but for the flowers! Don’t get mad! I will do some research.. maybe there is one that is just right for you that will grow here, what do you mean by the choke.. do you know the variety?.. maybe one day i can send you 5 pounds FRESH FRESH! c

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    • Sorry, Celi. I checked the map and one of their stores, the closest to you, is due north of you in Naperville. The store I’ve been to is in Elmwood Park, just outside of Chicago’s western edge.
      When an artichoke matures, at the very center of the thistle is a very fibrous mass. It is not poisonous but nonetheless inedible. The base and stem of the artichoke are, perhaps, the most flavorful part of the vegetable. In order to eat them, you have to remove the fibrous choke either before you cook it or while dining on the thing. When using baby artichokes, the fibrous mass hasn’t developed yet. These are a breeze to prepare and eat, in comparison.

      We should arrange a swap in No Man’s Land, midway between your farmy and my big city. I’ll bring city stuff to trade for farm stuff. I already have an idea of one thing I can trade ya.

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  19. Your post will make its way to my veg people AND my Paleo people. Good recipes with clear instructions and the blanching tip is excellent. I wish I had been there to photograph the ingredients in the Italian Grocery and your finding the artichokes.
    And by the way, you have fans on my blogs following YOUR comments Here is a quote from a good friend on the tie-dye comment “chicago john weighed in with one his cleverest quips ever.” So your fan base grows.

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    • I hope your Veg & Paleo peoples all like these, Ruth. To tell you the truth, I was sorry I didn’t have a camera with me on that first visit. I’ve been back but the artichoke display has shrunk each week as the season for the babies is ending. Well, that and I kept going back and buying more. 🙂
      And thanks for the kind words regarding my comments on your blogs. The fact is that those commenters come to your blogs because you’re a gifted photographer. I’m just the weisenheimer in the back row. 🙂

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  20. So you ventured out our direction! Which market did you make it to? If it’s one I haven’t found yet, I’d love to check it out. I’ve never seen baby artichokes either, but then again, I haven’t really been looking. Now I will!!! Glad you made it back to civilization safely. LOL. It’s funny, we’ve lived out in the hinterlands for several years now, but every time I get into the City, I feel at home. It is home. 🙂

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    • We didn’t need passports so I don’t think we made it all the way out to your neck of the woods. We went to Angelo Caputo’s market in Elmwood Park, just outside of Chicago’s western border. We were in and out of there before the border guards even knew we’d left Chicago. It’s a great place, they have an entire aisle and half of another that is devoted to dried pasta. I thought I had died and gone to Bologna! They have 6 stores, all located to the west of Chicago. I was surprised to see that there is another Caputo’s Market and I do not think that they are connected. The other’s advert says that it is one of the IGA grocery chain. The Caputo’s I shopped at is independently owned, I believe. If you’re interested, I can send you more information. And yes, Chicago is home.

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      • I know the store. I haven’t been to that one. We have a Caputo’s out here and an Angelo Caputo’s. I think there’s actually three within a short drive of our house. I’m not sure which is which – they’re all great as far as I can tell. I haven’t been to the one in Elmwood Park – even thought it’s right down the road from where I grew up. 🙂 Passports….LOL!

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  21. Believe it or not, I’ve never made artichokes before. Starting with the baby ones sounds like a good way to start … artichoke baby steps! Both methods of preparation sound delicious!

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    • Artichokes were a part of our diet when I was growing up but I can definitely understand why some would be hesitant to try them. They certainly aren’t the most beautiful vegetable in the produce section and you have to wonder what brave hominid first decided to try and eat one. I agree, though, if you’re going to take the plunge, starting with baby artichokes is the way to go. 🙂

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  22. I love artichokes but I don’t usually buy them because they look a little intimidating and I stare at them wondering what to chop off and what to discard and where is the prized part I’m supposed to cook and eat. Thanks for your instructions John. I’m not sure I’ve seen the little boys, I think we have the big boys here in the stores too. That Italian market you found sounds amazing xx

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    • Hi, Charlie. Cooking the goliaths is a bit more complicated than the small — and, as you know, so is the eating! And yes, they can look intimidating. As much as I love them, I prefer the babies. Floured and deep fired, they are ridiculously good and always disappear shortly after being served.

      That market is really incredible and I only wish I had ventured out there years ago. I’ll be heading back out there tomorrow morning. I think it’s my last chance to get more babies and I just can’t let it pass me by. 🙂

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  23. I have not eaten a lot of artichokes and have never bothered to prepare them fresh. I like them, it’s just not something I think much about. You certainly make it look easy and delicious. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Judy. Artichokes were a staple of our diet when I was young and the babies were served every Spring. I can easily understand how one might “take ’em or leave ’em” without that kind of history. They aren’t exactly the most enticing vegetable at the produce stands, are they?

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  24. John those look fantastic…have you ever made them halved and that just added some “oreganata” crumbs to the top and bake…Oh you have to try them that way

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    • Hello, Maria! “Oreganata.” Now there’s a word I haven’t heard in a very long time! 🙂

      Mom used to take small to medium-sized artichokes (usually just larger than the babies), chop off the tops, stand them up on their base in a baking dish, and top off each with a bread crumb mixture. She rarely used oregano; marjoram being more popular in Le Marche. And she never cooked the extremely large artichokes. I learned to do that on my own. Nevertheless, I like the sound of your dish and will definitely give ’em a try — once I get over this Baby Artichoke Fever that I seem to be experiencing.

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      • Hi John thank you for stopping by my blog…where does Zia live? have a wonderful time with family and friends this week…and you made me go buy artichokes yesterday, big ones though, there were so nice, 3 for $2, not bad, I will be making them later today, hey I think I will blog them!! travel safe…m

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        • Good morning, Maria. Zia lives in an area of Michigan known as “the Thumb.” It’s a rural area and she’s surrounded by some wonderful, good-hearted people. My recipe tomorrow is a pasta dish with artichokes and that’s enough for me for a while. I’ll revisit artichokes later in the year when I share another of Mom’s artichoke recipes. I do hope you blog your recipe, though. Just because I’m not doesn’t mean I’m not interested in learning and trying new artichoke recipes. I do love ’em. 🙂

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  25. I can always count on you to outline the preparation and not just the recipe. I have always been a little hesitant to buy the artichoke, mainly because I had no idea on the preparation, so thank you kindly for the instruction. Of course, I am drawn toward the sautéed artichokes, they look amazing. And the styling with the flat leaf parsley (food stylists’ favourite) is just lovely! Makes me want to make these on the weekend.

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    • Thank you, Eva. Sometimes I think I’m over doing it with the “how to’s” but then I remember all the times I called Mom with questions about cooking. I want to make sure the youngest in my family have a resource should they ever decide to cook one of the “old” recipes. I’m always glad to learn that others like yourself find these posts useful, too. Thanks for taking the time to tell me.

      Totally off-topic. Sawsan made feta from raw goat’s milk and is very happy with the results. You can find her comments after the Makin’ Feta post.

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      • The young ones in your family are rather fortunate to have someone like you. I do hope they appreciate it.
        I love Sawsan’s blog, her food tastes are quite similar to mine and I can always find something I want to try. I have to admit that although I’ve been wanting to try to make the feta, there is a bit of hesitation due to the process which resulted in severe procrastination. Now that Sawsan has made it, well, let’s just say it may be the kick in the pants I needed! It will have to wait until June as my weekends are really booked up (you’ll have to wait and see!)
        Thanks for letting me know, John.

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        • Thanks again, Eva. Yes, Sawsan has a wonderful blog and I thought you’d be interested to learn she had made feta. She used raw goat’s milk and I would love to be able to do that. I need a goat!

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  27. I adore artichokes, but who doesn’t? I am so happy for you that you found your treasure trove of artichokes at the Italian market. That market sounds like a jackpot! 🙂 The fried artichoke recipe will most definitely send my husband into dreamland so I am going to surprise him with these soon. Thank you so much for sharing TWO recipes from your mom. Family recipes are always the best.
    Have a great weekend coming up.

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    • Thank you, Geni. Mom would be thrilled to see how well-received her recipes are by you all, just as her Sister, my “Zia”, is. I went back to that market today just for the artichokes and these are going to be deep fried. They are really good prepared this way and if your DH loves fried foods, he’s in for a real treat. Buon appetito!

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  28. Not one, but two recipes!! Lucky day for all of us. I honestly did not even know there were baby artichokes – but I can see how they’d be handy. I’m thinking the fried ones are right up my alley.

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    • Thanks, Courtney! If you love fried foods — and what’s not to love? — you will enjoy these “babies” deep fried. Crispy on the outside and soft artichoke goodness on the inside. Yum!

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  29. What sweetness it is to find the object of such a long and faithful search! Hoorah! I can just imagine the size of your grin when your eyes met up with piles of baby chokes! Great to know about the blanching and freezing trick with artichokes…didn’t know that. Am heading to another Farmers Market tomorrow and will be there early just in case Luck is with me and I find some of those little beauties because John you’ve set my stomach to rumblin’!!

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    • I know what you mean, Spree, about the rumblin’ stomach. I just had to go back to that market yesterday to buy another bag of the babies. These I’ll clean, freeze, and bring with me to Michigan for my Zia. That will be it for me for this year — unless I see some at the farmers market. If some farmer has them, I’ll consider it a sign from Above that I need to buy more. And who am I to argue? Wishing you luck at your market!

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  30. Hi John,

    I do think you are right in that artichokes appear much harder to find nowadays. They seem to have fallen out of favour with people who don’t know how to prepare them or perceive it is too much trouble and hence the supply has gone dramatically down. When they do appear the price is exorbitant. Yesterday I saw them in two places for the same price. A whacking £1.90 for one medium sized one! Working it out in pounds and dollars for you that is $4.58 per pound…baby ones would be even more expensive…saying that I have saved your two wonderful looking recipes for when I can find some slightly cheaper and/if I ever succeed in growing my own as they are such a treat!

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    • The price is what has surprised me the most. The last ones I bought were only 79 cents a pound. That is incredibly cheap and much less than half what they were charging for larger ones. I still can’t believe it. I must admit, though, as much as I missed them, I doubt that I would have paid over $4.00 a pound for artichokes. That’s just not right!
      I do think you’re right, though, that many people just don’t know what to do with them. What a shame because they’re missing out on a great little dish. I do hope you do find some that are reasonably priced. Good luck!

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  31. I didn’t get the email notification for this post. 😦 That makes me cranky….

    I appreciate these SO much John. In my pre-cooking addict era, I was always in love with these little darlings. Now that I’m cooking every day, I haven’t eaten even one. Sad! Now, I’m SO looking forward to trying ‘Mom’s Sauteed Artichokes’. I hope I can find the baby artichokes! I really appreciate how you write with such detail, John. It helps a lot!

    Thank you for these recipes!
    I hope you had a great time at the Farmer’s Market this morning. I did 🙂

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    • Hello, Sarah!

      I do hope you can find them, too. Do you have an Italian market nearby? That’s where I found mine. Maybe lightening will strike twice.

      I was lucky enough to have Mom teach me and her sister, my Zia, to continue the lessons. I’m trying to make sure that the little ones in our family have a resource should they take an interest in cooking. The fact that you and others have found them useful is icing on the cake. Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

      The market was great today. Perfect weather and I got everything I set out for. It couldn’t have been better and I’m glad to hear you, too, enjoyed your farmers market. YAY!

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    • Hello, Sawsan. I can definitely see where someone might find artichokes intimidating. No matter how they’re displayed, I wouldn’t say that they’re “inviting.” If you can find the babies, they are, by far, the easiest to prepare since there is no choke. I find that they’re more versatile, too, since they’re smaller and more tender. I hope you try them and like them as much as we do.

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    • A dollar each is great! I’ve never grilled them and maybe it’s about time I did. I enjoy them no matter how they’ve been served so I bet grilling would be good, too. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  34. Insanely hungry for these gorgeous, spectacular carciofi–both kinds!!! Wow. Almost speechless, mainly because it would be hard to talk around the, ahem, drool. 😀 – – – – 😉

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    • Thanks, Kathryn. I just got back from a visit with my Zia. I always bring her goodies that I know she cannot get in her rural area. This time I brought her artichokes, among other things. I don’t think gold bars would have been so well-received. 🙂

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    • I dunno, Chris. The fried ones are like tasty popcorn. I really have a hard time not gobbling them all up. The original plate for the photo was a bit more full but I kept snacking on them during “the shoot.” 🙂

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    • I’ve heard they’ve a beautiful flower but, I must admit, I enjoy the vegetable too much. “What price beauty?”
      I’ve just noticed you “toured” my site, “liking” a number of the posts. Thank you very much!

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  36. Hey, it sure looks like fun and so much fuss over a vegetable! I’m not relaly an artichoke fan and I often wonder why it has come to be known as the king of vegetables even though it isn’t relaly that tasty (compared to say Durian as the king of fruits LOL). Do the artichokes in Italy taste any different from those here?

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    • I’ve never heard it called the king of vegetables. If you google “king of vegetables”, a number of them are called king (asparagus, onions, eggplant, etc.). It probably depends upon where you live. There’s more than 1 variety of artichoke in Italy, some having smaller chokes than others.
      Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

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  38. I love the artichoke! And must confess I have not cooked too much with it, only dips. I love the sauteed artichoke recipe of your mom’s with a splash of white wine! I am bookmarking it!

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    • I, too, love them sautéed, Judy. Being they’re so small, there’s no choke so they’re a breeze to prepare.
      Unless you’re avoiding fried foods, do try the fried version, too. They’re just as addictive as a bowl of popcorn.
      Thanks, Judy, for always leaving such great comments.

      Like

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