Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tomato Talk: “Summer’s Sunset” Fruit

Artichoke-Tomato “Marmalade” (serves a crowd)

• 1 TB Sea Salt
• 10 Artichokes
• 2 Lemons (cut in half)
• 1 TB Black Peppercorn
• 3 TB Olive Oil
• 3 Yellow Onions (chopped)
• 12 Garlic Cloves (diced)
• 3 LB Tomatoes (chopped)
• 2 TB Tomato Paste
• 1 bunch fresh Thyme Leaves (reserved)
• More Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook the artichokes in a large stockpot. Fill it halfway with water and add the sea salt. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat.

Trim off the artichoke stems and discard the tough outer leaves that grow at the base of the artichoke. With a pair of kitchen shears, cut off about 1 inch from the top of the artichokes and then clip off the pointy tips of each leaf. This takes a long time so be prepared!

The secret to making Artichoke-Tomato “Marmelade” is to rub the cut leaves with the lemon halves and then add the artichokes, lemon shells, and peppercorns to the pot of boiling water. This prevents them from browning.

Reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the artichokes are tender. This should take about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the artichokes.

Turn the artichokes over from time to time to make sure they all get cooked thoroughly. Once cooked, drain and cool.

While you are cooking the artichokes, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until they are soft and golden in color (about 7 min).

Next, add the tomatoes, cover the pan, and cook for at least 15 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to get soft and mushy. Then uncover, stir in the tomato paste and 2 TB thyme leaves, and turn off the heat.

Back to the cooling artichokes. Quarter them and cut out the hearts. Scrape out the hearts and clean off the little hairs. Dice the hearts and add them to the tomato mixture. Stir and check seasoning; add salt and pepper to taste.

Pick all the leaves off the quartered chokes. Serve this dip on the leaves of the artichoke, or on crostini, and garnish with extra sprigs of thyme. See my recipe for making crostini on Midnight Eggs.

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