Looks easy, right? Read on...

Okay, I am going to preface this with the fact that this recipe was a pain to make. I will probably never do this again. No, it’s decided. I will never do this again.  Getting the chokes out of the artichokes was really difficult. It makes you wonder who in the world looked at one and said “Hey, we should eat this.” And we had to watch a video to figure out what the chokes were. Sitting in front of the computer, artichoke in hand, yelling: “No! You’re going too fast!!!” Seriously, we  should have just used canned artichoke hearts (which we actually had but we wanted to do everything from scratch). But for those of you who are daring…

Here’s what you have to do:

1. Cut the top off the artichokes

2. Take out the choke (inedible portion)

3. Start to cut off the leaves until the white part

This is what your artichoke should look like, done

There’s a video here: http://www.5min.com/Video/In-The-Kitchen—Artichoke-24898648

* Just a note: Unlike the video, we actually took all the leaves off of our artichokes.

And don’t get scared – they turn purple as soon as you expose them to air.

Seasoned Broth:

  • 6 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chopped carrot
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 2 large fresh thyme sprigs

Bring artichokes, chicken broth and next 5 ingredients to boil in a large saucepan, adding more broth if necessary to cover. Reduce heat, cover and summer until artichoke hearts are very tender, around 50 minutes. Chill artichokes in broth mixture, uncovered, until cold, at least 2 hours and up to a day. Remove artichokes from broth, drain. Pull off leaves. Cut hearts into 1/3 inch cubes, place into a large bowl.

Christina, who is super-creative, saved the stock and made a chicken soup. She added sliced mushrooms, sautéed spinach and basil, plus salt and pepper. Okay, so maybe it is worth it to trim the artichokes.

Topping:

  • 1 cup drained rinsed cannellini beans
  • ½ cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • ¼ cup packed finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 8  1/3 to ½ inch thick slices pain rustique or flat country bread
  1. Mix beans, cheese, basil, oil into hearts. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Arrange bread on a baking sheet and brush with oil.
  4. Bake until crispy, about 8 minutes.
  5. Spoon artichoke mixture topping onto bread.
  6. Squeeze lemon juice over mixture, top with basil leaf.

The result was a very pleasant little crostini. A little chunky, but definitely a crowd pleaser. The beans were quite mild, and the cheese stood out (which I love). The artichokes were mildly chicken-y, but nice.

These are a little chunky, so be sure to serve with plates. They go beautifully with a light white wine. And remember: beans, beans are the musical fruit. The more you eat….well, you get it.

~Dana

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