artichokes

Spanish Rice With Artichokes and Ham

by Anne Maxfield on January 23, 2014

Accidental Locavore Artichoke RiceThe Accidental Locavore has been kicking this recipe around since I first saw it in Food & Wine. It had lots of my favorite things (artichokes, Jamon Iberico) and a rice I’d never heard of, bomba. Getting the ingredients together took a little doing and was definitely worth it (see the notes at the end). It may like a lot of steps, but it will give you a good jumping-off point for future meals and it’s up to you whether or not you do them all. Feeds 4.

For the rice:

  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 3 large artichokes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 6 ounces very thinly sliced ham, such as jamon Ibérico , serrano, or prosciutto; 4 ounces finely chopped, the rest saved for garnishing
  • 2 medium tomatoes, halved, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 2 cups Bomba or Calasparra rice

For the parsley sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed parsley
  • 1/2 small garlic clove
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

Accidental Locavore Cooking Artichoke RicePreheat the oven to 400°. Squeeze the juice from the lemon halves into a large bowl of water, but save the cut halves. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, snap off the dark green outer leaves, until you get to the tender, lighter green inner leaves. Cut off the top of the artichoke, leaving about ¾” of the remaining leaves. Peel and trim the bottom and stem of the artichoke. Halve the artichoke and scoop out the furry choke with a spoon. Cut the artichoke hearts in half again, rub all the surfaces with the lemon and add to the bowl of lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes. Drain the artichokes and pat dry.

In a large, ovenproof Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the artichokes and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over moderate heat, tossing occasionally, until just starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover and steam the artichokes until just tender, about 12 minutes. Transfer the artichokes to a plate and wipe out the skillet.

If you are making the pesto: spread the pine nuts in a pie plate and toast for about 7 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside.

In the Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just softened, 5 minutes. Add the chopped ham and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the mixture thickens, 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer and keep hot.

Add the rice to the skillet and stir to coat with the tomato mixture. Stir in the hot stock, spread the rice in an even layer and bring to a boil. Place the artichokes in the rice. Cover and bake for about 20 minutes, until most of the stock is absorbed. Uncover the skillet and bake for about 10 minutes longer, until the stock is completely absorbed and the rice is tender but moist. Remove the skillet from the oven, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, if you’re making the pesto, in a blender, or food processor, combine the parsley, pine nuts and garlic and pulse until finely chopped. Slowly pour in the olive oil and puree until nearly smooth. Season the parsley sauce with salt. Serve the rice straight from the skillet, drizzled with the parsley sauce, topped with the sliced ham and enjoy!

My verdict: Warning, this is delicious, but although it looks like “peasant” food, it is never going to be a bargain dinner! We were both pleasantly surprised by the bomba rice, it’s definitely worth seeking out (or order it from Amazon). I’m pretty sure you could use frozen artichoke hearts, without a huge difference in flavor. By the time the fresh artichokes I used were steamed and then cooked in the rice, they had lost a lot of texture and flavor (which I didn’t think had gotten picked up in the rice). I would thaw the frozen hearts and add them in when you uncover the pot of rice, for the last 10 minutes of cooking, and skip all the cleaning and cooking steps. Since I’m writing this in January, good tomatoes are impossible to find, so I used 3 canned, San Marzano, plum tomatoes. While we were enjoying it, we were talking about other ingredients that would be good in it. Olives, chorizo (Spanish style), chicken, and mushrooms were all contenders. You could just use it as a basic recipe, like a Spanish-style risotto and experiment.  I made the parsley sauce and it was fine, but you could easily do without it.

 

 

 

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Grilled Artichokes With Remoulade

by Anne Maxfield on May 23, 2013

Accidental Locavore Grilled ArtichokeOK, your first thought, like the Accidental Locavore’s, is probably – artichokes are time-consuming enough to cook, why would I want to grill them, but trust me, you do. And, you want to grill them on charcoal. I’m only slightly a charcoal snob, because there are many times when time is at a premium and it’s faster to toss something on a gas grill. For this, the smoky taste from the charcoal is really the reason you’re grilling them in the first place, so go light some charcoal!

While you’re waiting for the grill to be ready, wash and trim the artichokes. I had two big ones; figure on at least 1/2 per person depending on the size and what role they’re playing in your meal (appetizer, main course, side dish). You can save a lot of time, by wrapping them in either Saran Wrap or parchment paper, and steaming them in the microwave for about 8 minutes (again depending on size and microwave strength) until the stem end is tender and gives when you touch it.

Once they’re cool enough to work with, cut them in half. Using a small spoon, carefully remove the choke and the smallest inner leaves (if you want to, the choke can be removed before you cook them, but it’s easier this way). Brush the artichokes with either a little melted butter, some of the remoulade you’re going to eat with them or a little good olive oil.

Grill them, cut side down, for about 5 minutes, then flip and grill the other side for about 5 more minutes. Serve with the remoulade sauce below, or your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

My verdict: These were great! Absolutely worth doing over charcoal, and definitely worth grilling! This may sound silly, but it’s awfully nice to have the chokes already removed so you can just zip though them. My quick version of a remoulade may or may not be terribly authentic, but it sure tasted good! I think it’s one of those things that takes well to improvisation. Probably having some homemade mayo helped too, but by this point I hope I’ve convinced you ages ago that it’s the only way to go.
Accidental Locavore RemouladeRemoulade 

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • 3 anchovy filets, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon chives, finely minced (or scallions)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust to suit your palette.

 

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What’s Local and Fresh in the South of France?

by Anne Maxfield on May 2, 2011

Accidental Locavore Small Purple Artichokes

For the past two weeks the Accidental Locavore has been hanging out in the South of France. I’ve been exploring the farmer’s markets in Nice and the surrounding areas, discovering what’s local and fresh in a new locale. Since one of my long term goals is to buy a house over there, this was a trial run to see what it would be like to be “living” there, shopping from the local markets, and cooking with the amazing seasonal produce. It being spring, there are beautiful artichokes, in sizes ranging from small to huge and purple as well as the typical green ones we see here. The first night we were there, I succumbed to a couple of huge local artichokes, steamed them with some big purple garlic, local lemons and served them with lovely French butter and a freshly roasted chicken. Delicious!Accidental Locavore White Asparagus

The other spring vegetable in abundance, were asparagus, both green and white and a combo of the two. I don’t know why we Americans are so fixated on skinny asparagus. Is it just that in our fast food mentality, we can’t let something grow to its peak flavor? Does it take too long to bring a thick stalk of asparagus to market, cutting profit margins? Or is it just that we don’t have the opportunity to taste big, meaty, flavorful spears? If you’ve never tried obscenely thick asparagus, you have no idea what asparagus can taste like. Now that it’s coming into season here, look for the biggest stalks you can find, and let me know what you think. I jumped at the chance to sink my teeth into thick green asparagus and were they good! We had them twice in restaurants, once with a lovely herb sauce, and the last day we were in Nice, with seared fois gras and a balsamic reduction. How can you go wrong with asparagus and fois gras?Accidental Locavore Asparagus and Fois Gras

And when was the last time you were given your choice of strawberries? Besides the fact that each and every berry looked picture perfect, they were abundant, piling on to market tables. My choice was between sweeter ones, or more flavorful, I went for the flavorful and was happily sold a box of succulent berries, each one better than the last.Accidental Locavore Strawberries

Another day at the market, we were in search of great local cheese and charcuterie. In Provence, there are lots of delicious goat cheeses, some soft and runny, others aged and tasty. We got a couple of creamy ones and one rubbed in ash and aged. To go with, a fresh baguette, some incredible homemade pates, olives from a huge selection and an assortment of smoked or cured meats. Add a bottle of local wine, and you’ve got a great meal.Accidental Locavore Cutting Cheese

Friday I’ll have ideas on some of my favorite ways to cook and serve asparagus. How do you like to enjoy them?

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Recipe for Hollandaise Sauce (Don’t Worry it’s Easy)

by Anne Maxfield on December 24, 2010

Accidental Locavore Hollandaise SauceEvery year at Christmas the Accidental Locavore gets called on to make Hollandaise sauce. This is a recipe for Hollandaise sauce using a food processor or blender which makes it pretty simple, you just need to be a bit careful. You can also use a stick blender, or a wisk, but doing it by hand requires a strong hand.  We use it over broccoli, and if I had it around I’d use it for artichokes,  asparagus or over a steamed filet of sole. It works on the same principal as mayonnaise, an emulsion. When you get comfortable with it, you can easily move on to Bearnaise sauce, it’s the same theory but with tarragon, shallots, and vinegar.

For the holidays I usually use a double batch, a single should be good for 4-6 people.

  • 3 egg yolks from extra large or jumbo eggs
  • dash of Tabasco sauce
  • juice of 1 lemon (more to taste)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • salt

Combine the egg yolks, Tabasco, lemon juice and a little salt in a food processor or blender, and process until the egg yolks are fluffy and lighter in color. With the processor running, SLOWLY pour the butter in. You want a fine stream. Take your time with this, the more slowly you do this, the thicker your sauce will be. If you do it too fast the eggs won’t absorb the butter, and in a really horrible case, will start to cook*. So patience is really a virtue here, trust me. When the butter is all incorporated, you’re done. If you want it thicker, let it run in the food processor a little longer. Taste and adjust lemon and salt to taste. Enjoy!

*If you do have a problem with the sauce separating, toss an ice cube or two into the processor. This works sometimes. Or just dump it and start again, slowly!

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