I admire the form and beauty of the artichoke flower. I find it to be fascinating and a little mysterious. the artichoke plant in my vegetable garden is producing flower at the moment. Last year was the first time I grew, and the first time I cooked them. I was a little stumped by how to do so. I consulted my trusty Stephanie Alexander The Cook’s Companion to find out how to go about it and made a number of recipes that showcased the beautiful flavor.
I have to say that for the space the plant takes up, and the amount of the actual flower used, really irks me! I feel like I am wasting most of the plant – or I have completely misunderstood the cooking guidelines!?
I checked the cooking notes a few times and ended trying to eat the outer leaves and the fluffy core that surrounds the base after they were cooked to see if I had understood correctly. I found both to be unpleasant in texture and lacking in taste.
So moving on from my wastage issues, this is lovely vegetarian dish incorporating the fresh flavors of Spring/Summer.
My artichokes are not quite ready to start harvesting so I collected some gorgeous fresh ones from the farmers market last weekend to make this recipe. The onions I used were the first of this seasons crop from my garden and were delicate and sweet. I am looking forward to harvesting the remainder of the crop in the next couple of weeks and making some Onion Chutney with them.
- 3 small red onions- sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 2 teaspoon of brown sugar
- 2 artichokes - outer leaves removed and base trimmed
- salt to add to water
- zest of 1 lemon
- 80-100 grams of cherry tomatoes, or sliced tomatoes
- salt and pepper to season
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 - 2 piece of puff pastry - defrosted (depending on pan size used)
- Put the sliced onions into a wide based (or large) saucepan with the oil and cover to cook on a gently heat for 20 minutes, check and stir occasionally
- Uncover after 20 minutes and add the sugar then stir often for a further 5-10 minutes (approximately) until the onion thickens and becomes a golden brown
- While the onions are cooking - Set a large pot of water to boil and add a generous pinch of salt
- Place the trimmed artichokes into the boiling water and place a small plate on top of them to keep them submerged
- Turn on the oven to heat to 170 degrees
- Boil the artichokes for 15 minutes and then remove with a slotted spoon. Test for readiness with a skewer by poking it into the base, there should be minimal resistance
- Once cool enough to handle cut the artichokes into quarters and slice off the leaves - except the area close to the base. Cut out the hairy middle section to be discarded
- Line a pie or slice dish with pastry
- Slice the base of the artichoke into pieces and add it to the bottom of a pie dish and top with the lemon zest
- Add the cherry tomatoes on top of the artichoke pieces and then spoon the caramelized onion evenly around the top
- Season with salt and pepper and the rosemary leaves
- Place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook using the fan forced option for 15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crispy
- Turn the oven function to cook the base of the tart for a further 5 minutes
- Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes then remove from the dish
- Serve with a salad or vegetables
I would love to hear how you cook artichokes as my first flower has appeared so I will be looking for inspiration and other ways to cook this lovely vegetable over the coming months.
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