Pan Roasted Artichokes
I haven’t always loved artichokes. It has only been in the last five years or so that I have slowly moved from dislike to grudging acceptance to really liking. I went from never eating them to never being without some in the house. I find many different ways to use them now. Sure — there is the old stand by use on an antipasto platter. But they are great on salads — (try them on my Tuna Pasta Salad). With a bit of pesto and your favorite cheese, they make a swell grill cheese sandwich. Add them along with some grilled vegetables for a side dish. The possibilities are almost endless.
The Problem With Artichokes
But there is a problem with artichokes. Good, fresh artichokes aren’t easy to come by. Many grocery stores have the fresh ones now for most of the year. Sure — they look like artichokes, but they are grown for ability to packed, shipped and stored longer than natural. They end up lacking something in flavor. And fresh artichokes are a fair bit of work to prep. That much effort needs to come with an amazing flavor. Most grocery store artichokes miss the mark. Perhaps I’m bias as the best artichoke I’ve ever eaten came from a farmers market in Florence.
Growing up artichokes were always there — any big family event or meal always had some artichokes on the table. But I’ve come to realize now that they were never fresh artichokes. They were artichokes from a can, and probably not the best quality brands at that. I never liked the flavor, hence my dislike of artichokes.
And there in is the other problem with artichokes. The easiest way to get them year round is canned — but the flavor is unreliable at best. From can to can, the taste can vary greatly. Occasionally, you will find very good. But some are barely edible. Most have a tinny, metallic taste. Some have no flavor at all. Even among the same brand, I have found great variety can to can.
A Simple Fix
The solution is pan roasted artichokes. To be honest, it came to me when I worked as a chef for a major grocery chain. I learned a quick five minute tip that really helps elevate the taste of canned artichokes. Having never been an artichoke eater, I never looked for ways to make them better. But I learned this from a coworker (thank you Jorge) and I have been using it ever since!
Before serving the, sauté them with some garlic for just three or four minutes. Take them off the heat, a bit of lemon juice and toss with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Add a little bit of chopped parsley — and you have a whole new world for your artichokes.
At this point, the are perfect for an antipasto tray, making a salad, or topping a pizza. Maybe you can just eat them as a snack on their own (yes — I do this sometimes). Add them to a pasta with some capers and lemon. I’d love to try this recipe from Bon Appetit with lamb. Or this recipe for a classing spinach and artichoke dip. As I said, there is an almost endless list of ways you can use the pan roasted artichokes. Take the extra five minutes and you’ll never eat another canned artichoke the same way again.
Pan Roasted Artichokes
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 15 oz can artichoke hearts, halved or quartered, drained
- 1/2 lemon, juiced (about 1 TBS of Juice)
- 2 tsp parsley, chopped
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil and garlic over medium high heat until garlic just begins to get fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add artichokes to the garlic and olive oil. Sauté for about 3 -4 minute, stirring or shaking frequently
- Remove from heat and add lemon juice and parsley and toss to combine
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Serve immediately or let cool and refrigerate to use later