There are certain moments in my life that I'll never forget.
Obtaining my drivers licence.
Moving out of home.
And cleaning my first artichoke!... I remember the day I got my driving licence - it took 23 lessons!...I just wanted to be sure!
I definitely remember the first time I moved out of home and gained that ever important independence. If anybody knows Greek mothers, you know what an achievement that is!
However, cleaning and preparing artichokes is only a very recent thing for me. Just to clarify-artichokes were plentiful in our household whilst I was growing up. They were often served braised in a tomato/olive oil mixture (very similar to this braised okra recipe) or roasted in the oven alongside a leg of lamb with potatoes.
And like most Greek food it took me a long time to really get "into them".
To be honest, I had never really given much thought about how much effort goes into cleaning and preparing artichokes. I'm not going to lie.
The jarred versions sold at the local delicatessen were always convenient and great for throwing a quick antipasto platter together.
Attending a recent cooking class with the beautiful Trissa from Trissalicious, we were treated to a hands on demonstration by the chef in "artichokes 101". It looked very simple. (it always does when experts do it!)
Fast forward a few weeks later and there I am-a kitchen covered in green matter and fuzzy choke. To say it was a little "challenging" is being kind! Eventually I did get the hang of it and somehow managed to clean a few artichokes and get on with cooking my dish.
Call me a whimp but next time I'm paying someone to do it or I'll just have to visit my favourite deli...
- 4-6 cleaned, trimmed artichokes (stem included-optional)
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- 1 small red chilli finely sliced
- a handful of parsley finely chopped
- olive oil for frying
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cooked “al dente” spaghetti
- Blanch your cleaned artichokes in some boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Heat up some olive oil in a pan on medium heat and once it’s heated add your artichokes. Fry on both sides for a few minutes ensuring they do not burn.
- Add your garlic and chilli and give everything a good toss and stir. Season accordingly with salt and pepper.
- Add the spaghetti and toss everything together. If the mixture becomes a little dry add some more olive oil and a little pasta water to loosen it up a little.
- Plate the spaghetti with the artichokes and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.