Chef Jorge Serves up Grand Cajun Artichoke
Chef Jorge wanted to spice things up this week. This is what he came up with.
Walking out my house, I caught a whiff of my tulips and realized that the winter has left and Erie has finally been hit with the feeling of spring. Today's recipe is more than an artichoke dip, though an artichoke dip with spinach is an enjoyable dish. Today I wanted to try something new. I realized that I myself really didn't know how to prepare fresh artichokes. As I said in my bio on eriereader.com, this is going to be a growing experience for both of us.
I was at the west market place in Cleveland and saw these giant artichokes and thought that they would be great for this week's recipe. It wasn't until I was almost back to Erie that I remembered that the older an artichoke is the more of a "beard"—the fuzzy part— it has, meaning that it has less of a "heart," which is the most enjoyable part of the artichoke. So I made a trip to the grocery store and found fresh baby artichokes on sale, which means we are back in business for our dish I had in mind.
Even though for this recipe I will be using both baby artichokes and large artichokes, it will both be easier and less painful to use just baby artichokes. The reason I made sure I bought baby artichokes for our recipe is because we are going to make a dipping sauce for our artichokes that incorporates the heart of the artichokes to give a more true flavor.
As I always say this recipe is only a guide, so feel free to play with it and make it your own. But if you like this one, you can always say it's a recipe you got from a friend.
So let's start our cooking adventure by putting a pot on the stove with water at medium heat.
1 whole Large Artichoke
1 whole Baby Artichoke
3 Tbs Lemon Juice
6 Tbs Butter
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Tbs Garlic Powder
1 Tbs Paprika
1 Tbs Crushed Red Peppers
1 Tbs Chili Powder
½ Tbs Dried Onion Flakes
½ tsp Cumin
2 whole Bay Leaf
To Taste Salt and Pepper
First thing first, we take a medium-sized sauce pot and fill it with water; add 1 Bay Leaf and 1 Tbs of Lemon Juice and place it on the stove top to come to a slow boil. While this is happening we are going to start prepping our artichokes.
For our artichokes, we cut off the tips. Be careful because the ends of the petals are little thorns. So use our kitchen scissors and cut off all the tips of the petals starting from the bottom and stopping ¾ of the way up.
Once we are done trimming the bigger petals, take a serrated knife and cut off the top of the artichokes, this exposes the rest of the artichoke showing us the inside of the flower. Also at this point we cut off the stem and peel off any of the smaller petals on the bottom just so that we have a nicer presentation.
Now this is one of the important parts that we have to do so that we can have a nice blossom from our artichokes: under cold water, rinse our artichokes. What this does is shock the flower, causing it to open up, exposing more of the insides and making our next steps easier to do.
Pour Lemon juice over the artichokes to prevent oxidation. (The artichokes turning brown)
By this point our water should be at a slow boil; add both our large and baby artichoke to the pot to cook— remember that our baby artichoke will be done cooking before our large one. (We can tell an artichoke is done cooking when the leaves can be easily removed. It took me 10 minutes for the baby artichoke and 15 for the larger one.)
Once the artichokes are done cooking, let them cool down to the point that you can handle them. At this point we will take the baby artichoke and pull back to the point where we can see the "choke"— or the fuzzy part with the purplish flower petals. With a spoon, spoon it all out, and throw it out (Now we can see the heart; it is concave and has a light tan color.) Scoop out the heart and chop it up finely
Repeat the same step for the large artichoke, remembering that we will not have much of a heart, so we are just cleaning it out.
In a frying pan on low heat, melt our butter. As our butter is melting, add our last Bay Leaf. Then add our olive oil. Once the butter has melted and our oil and butter has mixed, add our dry seasoning. Let it simmer for 2 minutes; remember, we are not trying to brown the butter, just melt it and have the flavors blend.
For the final step, take our baby artichoke and place it inside of our large artichoke; don't be afraid to spread the pedals with your hands. (For added presentation I placed the dipping sauce inside a small shot glass inside of both artichokes)
Now just pull of the petals off with your hands, dip the bottom meatier part in our Butter Cajun dip and just pull them through your teeth scraping off the pulpiness part of the petals.
Like always, Buen Provecho my friends!