What do I do with artichoke hearts?
January 27, 2009 2:06 PM   Subscribe

I have a can of artichoke hearts and would like some thoughts on using them in a green salad or another appetizer-y idea.

I am an artichoke heart novice. Are canned artichokes straight out of the can any good in salads? I have some nice greens and homemade Caesar dressing already and was thinking about adding the artichoke to the salad for a dish at a dinner party. Do they just get rinsed and thrown in? Sauteed? Chopped up? If that sounds gross, what else can I do with the artichoke hearts that would be a quick and easy appetizer? Normally I'd just experiment and see what happened but since I'm making dinner for friends, I'd like to have a better idea of what would be yummy to others.
posted by otherwordlyglow to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Many italian restaurants use artichoke hearts in their salads.

However, my favorite way to use Artichokes is in artichoke spinach dip. It is very easy to make, and goes great with italian bread, tortilla chips or crackers.
posted by Brettus at 2:14 PM on January 27, 2009

The canned ones, packed in water, aren't really very good by themselves. They're pretty mushy and bland. Where they *normally* end up is in artichoke dip. The marinated ones, in the jar and packed in oil, are much better for eating in salads and such.

You could probably make a pretty good cream of artichoke soup with the canned ones. You want a preparation where it's going to be okay for them to be soft.

Artichoke dip recipe posted on request, though you could easily google a bunch too.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:19 PM on January 27, 2009

Quick sautee in olive oil with tomatoes (chopped or cherry/grape, your preference) + garlic + good olives
posted by jckll at 2:21 PM on January 27, 2009

I would say you're right on with the rinsing beforehand, as canned artichoke hearts tend to be in pretty acidic oil. But they do not require cooking before putting in a salad, and are way tasty.

It's a bit more complicated, but another tasty appetizer would be arancini (ok, a lot more complicated, if you've never made risotto before).

1) make artichoke risotto

2) cool and roll into spheres the size of golf balls

3) dip in egg wash

4) roll in a mix of parmesan, panko, and flour

5) deep fry until browned; you've already cooked the risotto so there's no worry of them being underdone

Extra for Experts: put a cube of fontina cheese in the middle. It'll be a perfectly melted, gooey, glorious surprise.
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:24 PM on January 27, 2009

Seconding that the ones in cans aren't as flavorful. Saute with something more flavorful before using.

The marinated ones in jars, though, ohh. Instant buttery veggie goodness. Add to pizza, any rice or pasta dish, salads, etc.
posted by desuetude at 2:24 PM on January 27, 2009

I stand by this. Artichokes are delicious in salads and on pizza, too.
posted by Flamingo at 2:24 PM on January 27, 2009

Upon reading Mudpuppies' comment, I was totally thinking of jarred, not canned artichokes when I mentioned the acidic oil.
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:25 PM on January 27, 2009

Response by poster: Okay sounds like the canned-in-water type are a no-go for the salad. Good to know. I've eaten lots of artichokes but never knew which preparations went with which recipes. Sounds like the kinds of I've had on pizza in pasta were probably the jarred-in-oil kind. Maybe I should really just get some of the cute fresh baby artichokes and roast them.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:37 PM on January 27, 2009

I have sauteed them before to go in rice and pasta dishes. Mixes nicely with olives and mushrooms.

And very tasty in salads indeed!
posted by radioamy at 2:37 PM on January 27, 2009

It's already been said, but Artichoke Dip is awesome. This is my favourite recipe.
posted by lottie at 2:44 PM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

I actually prefer the canned ones for pizza and so on, because then you can flavour them as you wish. The kind in jars vary greatly in flavour and I've had to rinse off some pretty yucky-tasting oil in some brands.
posted by Pomo at 2:53 PM on January 27, 2009

I like the ones in the can on salads and pizza and such, and the marinated ones in pasta salads. Guess I am the odd one out here.
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:55 PM on January 27, 2009

Puree in food processor with garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, serve on pasta: artichoke pesto.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:56 PM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Maybe I should really just get some of the cute fresh baby artichokes and roast them.

Preparing raw artichokes takes a lot of effort (especially if you're a first-timer), but it's oh-so-worth-it. The good news is that baby artichokes require less trimming, because the outer leaves aren't as fibrous as the bigger ones. (Tips.)

Roasted would be fine, but my absolute favorite way to do them is to braise them in a saute pan. Heat up some olive oil, add red pepper flakes, garlic, basil and oregano. After the garlic softens, add in quartered artichoke hearts. Saute until they start to brown. Add about 1/4 cup each of chicken stock and white wine. Simmer and reduce. When artichokes are tender, throw in a handful of green cerignola olives (or some other meaty green olive; do pit them first, and chop roughly). Add the juice of a lemon at the end. Knob of butter optional.

Serve with crusty bread for soppin' up the sauce. Maybe some nice parmigianno, too.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:58 PM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

I like the canned ones just fine. For salads & sandwiches, I usually marinate them 1st in olive oil & vinegar 1:4. Use the marinade as the base for salad dressing. They're softened by the heat of canning, but the flavor's fine.
posted by theora55 at 3:00 PM on January 27, 2009

Sorry, I missed the appetizer part -- you could serve it as pesto with pita chips as a dip.

Although artichoke dip is really a big hit anywhere:

Half an onion
couple cloves of garlic
about half as much mayonnaise as chopped up artichokes
cayenne pepper

350 degrees for half an hour or so --a little time under the broiler if the top looks pallid.

Everyone loves it.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:00 PM on January 27, 2009

Response by poster: Hmm. Canned artichokes in salad appear to have some late-breaking fans. Maybe will reconsider. That fried risotto thing sounds awesome but I won't have the time to do that. Artichoke dip is all fine and good but perhaps richer than I was hoping for. I love the pesto pasta idea and will use is some other time. The braising sounds delightful, too.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:23 PM on January 27, 2009

Are these hearts or bottoms? I've never seen canned hearts, only ones that have been jarred and marinated. Canned bottoms, however, make super elegant apps because you can fill them with mousse or add cheese and broil, or use them as a cup for crab salad or anything else you can think of.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:14 PM on January 27, 2009

Response by poster: Yep, hearts.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:18 PM on January 27, 2009

Yep, if you toss them with a little of what you're using for dressing, they will be great in the salad. I even like them just plain, but I am a crazy artichoke fiend and should not be held up as an example for young people.
posted by exceptinsects at 9:41 PM on January 27, 2009

cover in lemon juice, drizzle with tahini, sprinkle with oregano and salt. eat.
posted by timory at 9:48 PM on January 27, 2009

Please don't ignore frozen artichoke hearts ... much better flavor than canned, IMHO. In U.S., Trader Joe's store brand are great.
posted by jrchaplin at 7:31 PM on January 28, 2009

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