Artichoke Hearts

A vegetable dish that can be served as a tasty appetiser or as the topping/sauce for gnocchi or pasta.



This recipe evolved when cooking a ‘special’ meal. It was our anniversary…a moment for the heart! And Valentine’s Day would be equally appropriate.


I like to try new recipes and variations when I make extra time to cook for something particular. I always aim to create something which will be a ‘hit’. I am pleased to say this was and it is now firmly in my recipe repertoire.


The season for artichoke is summer and autumn. So, if you live in the northern hemisphere and are cooking this for your Valentine, buy a good quality can or bottle of artichoke hearts.


It is very simple to prepare and can be cooked in advance and reheated before serving. Or serve it at room temperature as a starter.


Diets for which Artichoke Hearts are suitable:

Diabetic, Diary Free, Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Nut Free, Vegetarian and Vegan.


Ingredients

Preparation: 10 mins | Cook: 20 mins | Serves: 3+

1 tbsp olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
200 gm tomatoes, chopped (ripe or canned)
6-8 small artichoke hearts (fresh steamed or a can)*
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

3 tbsp pomegranate seeds
salt (if required)

Method

HEAT oil, to a medium heat, in a heavy-based small saucepan.
ADD shallots and cook for 2 minutes.
ADD the garlic and coriander and cook until the mix is fragrant, about 1 minute.
ADD tomatoes, artichokes, pepper and 1 cup water.
SIMMER for 15 minutes, during which time the liquid will have reduced to give a thickish sauce.
SQUASH 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds, to extract the juice, and add the juice and seeds to the artichoke mix. (The remaining pomegranate is decorative when serving.)
TASTE and adjust the flavour with salt, pepper or a little sugar as necessary.
CHILL or serve warm as a starter or as a sauce for gnocchi or pasta.

Serve

– As a starter with crusty bread (Gluten Free when required); and/or top with slivers of parmesan cheese (not Dairy Free or Vegan).
– A tasty topping for gnocchi (not Vegan and Gluten Free where necessary) or pasta (Gluten Free where necessary). Add parmesan cheese (not Dairy Free or Vegan).

Notes

* To cook fresh artichoke.
REMOVE and discard the toughest of the outer leaves.
CUT off the stalk and remove the tough fibres from the base.
OPEN the top leaves and remove the inedible fibrous piece.
RINSE the artichoke in water to which lemon juice has been added to prevent discolouration.
BOIL water with the juice of half a lemon.
ADD the artichokes, ensuring that they are covered in water, and cook 20-45 minutes depending on the size. (They are cooked when the stem is tender and you can pull out an inner leaf.
COOL.
CUT in half lengthwise and remove the centre, the choke.
COOK as an ingredient or brush with olive oil and grill.

Alternative Pasta/Gnocchi dishes:

Lentil ‘Bolognese’
Courgette Linguine Salad

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