Get all choked up and melt over this month’s featured green vegetable. See the artichoke in a delicious, messy sandwich melt loaded with sauteed vegetables on slices of rosemary bread.
I find the playful look of the artichoke with its sunflower like leaves fascinating. If you’re in the same boat as me never having cooked an artichoke before and curious, you’ll be happy with what you’re about to see and learn about this month’s featured green food that has been deconstructed and cooked flavourful.
The Artichoke: I did not grow up eating it, nor had I ever cooked it. In my adult years, encounters with artichoke were always on an extremely delicious pizza and I thought that you could simply wash and remove the leaves as with other vegetables, sauté for 5 minutes with spices and all would be tasty. Not the case. I may or may not have done this (cough) and ended up biting into hard uncooked leaves, but as with everything, even cooking, there are learning curves. Now, before you attempt today’s recipe you must first prepare and cook your artichokes by following a few simple step. You’ll want to have at least 2 lemons handy. As an added bonus, here’s a link as well that you might enjoy with a fun step by step tutorial on how to eat an artichoke: How To Eat An Artichoke.
How to Prepare and Cook Artichokes
To prepare: Cut off about 1 inch of the pointed top of the artichoke. Trim tips of leaves with scissors to remove thorns. Pull off lower and outer petals and cut off bottom stems (cut flush with the base or leave an inch if desired). Rinse the artichokes under cold, running water. Open up the petals a little while you rinse to allow the water to run through more easily.
To cook: On medium heat, bring water to boil in a deep pot and add artichokes. Add a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon and a bay leaf (this step is optional but adds wonderful flavour to the artichokes). Place lid on pot and cook for 25 – 40 minutes, or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. When done cooking, remove from the pot and stand artichoke upside down on a rack to drain.
Squeeze the juice of ½ lemon into a bowl of cold water. Remove the leaves from the artichokes, slice thinly lengthwise and add to water. This step is to preserve the colour of the leaves. Now you are ready to get going with this recipe!
Note: Fresh is best but if you find the process timely, pre-cooked frozen artichokes can be used as a substitute.
- 4 artichokes, trimmed and cooked (subsitute with frozen artichokes if needed)
- ½ cup black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 ripe plum tomatoes, sliced ¾ inch thick
- 1 lemon
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 4 rustic-style rolls, Focaccia, or, your facourite bread sliced
- Provolone or Gouda cheese, sliced
Prepare and cook your artichokes as per directions above. Squeeze the juice of ½ lemon into a bowl of cold water. Remove the leaves from the artichokes, slice thinly lengthwise and add to water.
Combine roughly chopped olives with ½ tablespoon olive oil in a small bowl, and set aside.
Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium heat; add garlic. Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pat artichokes dry; add to skillet. Saute until golden, about 5 minutes. Squeeze juice of remaining lemon over artichokes; season with salt and pepper as desired and add 1/2 cup chopped parsley. Toss, transfer to a small bowl and cover with foil.
Return skillet to heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange tomatoes in skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup parsley. Cook until golden around edges. Turn over, and saute 1 to 2 minutes more.
Slice rolls of bread open. Spread olive mixture on the bottom. Mound the artichoke mixture over olives. Arrange tomatoes over the artichokes. Arrange cheese over tomatoes. Place sandwich halves on baking sheet; broil until cheese melts and bread is golden, about 2 minutes. Close sandwiches. Serve immediately.
Verdict in my opinion: freaking delicious! However, it did take me three tries to get to this point and to get the cooking of the artichokes just right. I also found that a lot of it had to be trimmed down. My advice would be to do a little bit more research on cooking this vegetable and also make use of the tutorials above. Otherwise, Enjoy! Strangely enough, putting together this hot and cheesy melt loaded with sauteed vegetables and salty black olives was almost like making a pizza, which took me back to my first/only previous encounters with artichoke. Hmmm…
Note: Your delicious artichoke and tomato toppings are also a great compliment with juicy chicken breasts.
See more: Cooking Green Goodness
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