gmhTODAY 26 gmhTODAY June July 2019 - Page 98

Cathy Katavich Cathy's KITCHEN Cathy received her culinary training at CIA, Culinary Institute of America, at both Greystone (Napa) and Hyde Park, NY. She man- aged Research and Development for Gilroy Foods and in the past ten years she was involved in their frozen vegetable business, heading up Business Development, Sales and Marketing. Artichokes…a Mediterranean fl ower! Artichokes are the fl ower buds of a large plant in the thistle family that originated in the Mediterranean. They are beautiful and formidable at the same time but are far more user friendly than they may at fi rst appear. Artichokes are special, and spring is their season! You can fi nd them year-round, but their peak season is March-May and again in September and October. Steamed Artichokes Types if Artichokes The globe artichoke is the variety we see most. These dramatic plants can grow to over 4 feet high and wide. Different sized artichokes simultaneously grow on the same plant. The most common sizes are small (2-4 oz.), medium (8-10 oz.) and large (over 12 oz.). Medium artichokes are best for steaming, roasting and grilling and one artichoke generally serves one person. Jumbo artichokes are often stuffed, and small artichokes are best for sautéing and marinating. . What to Look For A fresh artichoke should feel heavy for its size and have smooth green leaves that squeak when you press them. Scars and brown spots from frost don’t neces- sarily indicate lack of freshness. Some 98 cooks think the frost “kiss” makes for a sweeter artichoke. Leaves should snap off cleanly. If they bend or look dried out the artichoke is probably old. How to Store and Handle When you get your artichokes home, moisten the tops with water and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. How To Use Artichokes can be steamed, boiled, braised, sautéed, roasted, grilled, mari- nated and stuffed! They make great additions to pasta, stews, and risotto. Because fresh artichokes aren’t always available there are processed options available for many recipes. Whole jarred baby artichokes are a good op- tion, as are frozen artichoke hearts. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN june/july 2019 Steamed artichokes are the easiest to prepare. Whether you’re using large or baby artichokes, preparation is the same. First snap off several layers of the lower, tough leaves. Using a serrated knife, cut off the top third of the artichoke and trim the thorns of the remaining leaves with kitchen scissors. Trim the stem close to desired length. There are two schools of thought on how to steam the artichoke. Most reci- pes will tell you to place the artichokes upside down on a steaming rack over boiling water, then cover and cook until a leaf comes off easily, about 30 to 40 minutes. I prefer to place the artichokes upright in the steamer. Slightly pull apart the leaves of the raw prepared artichoke and stick in a few slivers of garlic. Drizzle each artichoke with olive oil, cover with a layer of sliced lemons and a handful of fresh rosemary sprigs. I also add some halved lemons and garlic cloves to the boiling water. For both methods, once cooked, remove the artichokes and place upside down on a plate to allow extra water to drain off. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Both methods deliver a tasty artichoke, but I think the flavors perme- ate the artichoke best when steamed upright. Special Handling As you work with artichokes, rub cut areas with a lemon to prevent browning. If you’re preparing a lot of artichokes, put them in a bowl of lemon water once they’ve been trimmed.