Sunday, March 20, 2011

Artichokes Barigoule

Whenever I think of an artichoke, my dad's constant saying of 'okie doki, artichokie' pops into my head.  So forgive me in advance if i'm a little less eloquent than usual - its hard when you think like a five year old.

Something I understand, but dislike immensely, are what I refer to as the "hidden components" in The French Laundry Cookbook.  These are recipes - things that require actual preparation, sometimes lots of it - thrown in amongst the ingredients.  I have learned to read (and think) very carefully as I look through recipes and make grocery and prep lists, because its easy to lose track of them... shooting you  One of the many "hidden components" of the Pan Roasted Striped Bass entree is artichoke barigoule.  Luckily, I actually noticed this one (as opposed to, say, the vegetable stock I inadvertently ignored in this recipe).  Good thing, since it took a fairly long time - at least 2 hours total.

First, I had to butcher (or whatever you want to call removing the hearts - trust me, butcher is the right word for me) all of the artichokes.  It was messy, and resulted in several puncture wounds from the artichoke spikes.

If you are good at removing artichoke hearts, then the rest is no big deal.  Just softened some aromatics in some olive oil, added the artichokes, cooked for a bit, then added a mixture of stock and wine to braise.  If you are not good at removing artichoke hearts, you are tired, have a backache, and are rather cranky by this point.

I was supposed to make a bouquet garni, but couldn't, since my leeks somehow walked away between the grocery store and my house.  I swear, I have terrible luck with losing things i've paid for at the store.  [amusing aside: I asked Brandon to go out to my car and see if he could find my leek.  "Your what?  Where do you have a leak?"  "In my trunk, I think."  "Why do you think you have a leak in your trunk?"  "Because I can't find it here."  "What?  How do you bring a leak inside?"  "Umm... by carrying it the grocery bag."  "What?  How do you buy a leak?"  (getting irritated, since I think he's just being passive agressive) "at the store... OH... the VEGETABLE leek."  "oh, that makes a lot more sense than what I was thinking."  I can't even imagine how this would go if we spoke something that is actually dependent on tone, like Chinese].

Anyways, after pouring the liquid in, you are supposed to cover with a towel.  The idea of that kinda grosssed me out... until I remembered that my grandma had given me tea towels forever ago.  It was perfect!

After braising, I removed the artichokes, strained the liquid, and poured the liquid over the artichokes in a container.

The instructions said that by cooking and then braising, you would avoid discoloration.  I think I must not have done something right, because they were still kind of discolored.  It may have been the roughly 15 minutes it took for me to butcher each.  Regardless, it smelled divine, and the veggies that were supposed to be discarded made a delicious dinner.


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