PHOODIE’S GREEK KITCHEN: RECIPE 2 – AGINARES WITH GARLIC, LEMON AND OLIVE OIL 0
August 12, 2016
So last weekend, I rocked up to Yaya Marie’s place to cook a special pie for this series that features pumpkin, cheese and filo pastry. It is one of my FAVOURITE recipes that she makes and I was super excited to share it with you. Don’t get me wrong, I still WILL be sharing it with you, and I still AM excited, but back to what I was saying….
I turned up ready to cook pita, but Yaya Marie had other plans. The sink was filled with water and bobbing artichokes, there were lemons everywhere and she’d set up two lunch plates, each with 3 pieces of deliciously crusty bread and 3 serviettes. WHAT WAS GOING ON?!
Well, Yaya Marie figured that because we were cooking, and because we would need lunch at some point, it was a good idea for her to show me how to make the incredibly tasty dish that is Aginares (Artichokes) with Garlic, Lemon and Olive Oil.
If you are not familiar with this dish, it is important to note (to quote Yaya Marie) “that you eat it only with close friends and family, those who won’t judge you with food all over your fingers and plate, and a napkin tucked into your shirt!”
The way to eat this dish is to peel the leaves / petals, one by one, from the outside moving in, and one leaf at a time, remove the delicious flesh from the base of each leaf, using your teeth. You don’t eat these outer leaves as they are too tough, but as you move closer to the heart, you will feel the leaves becoming more tender so you can eat those in their entirety and of course, you can completely devour the heart, when you get to it!
3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 large cloves garlic; chopped into pieces
1) Fill the sink (or a large bowl) with cold tap water.
2) To prepare the artichokes, first cut the stems off. Peel them as you would a carrot. This can be done with a vegetable peeler or better still, with a small sharp knife. You want to make sure you are removing all the stringy, rough outer layers. Once peeled, chop stalks into 4 pieces each, rub with cut lemon and place in cold water.
3) Now we move on to the body of the artichoke. On each artichoke, with a small sharp knife, peel away a few of the tough, bottom layers of leaves. You want to take away any torn, dark, super hard leaves to reveal the base of the heart. Once you have done this, still using your small, sharp knife, tidy the area where the stalk used to connect and then horizontally chop off the TOP half of the artichoke so that you are left with the base of all leaves, as per the 6th image below, with the lemon.
4) One at a time, as you prep the artichokes and stems, make sure to rub everything with a lemon wedge before placing it in the water to prevent discolouration.
5) When all of the artichokes and stems have been prepped, fill a large saucepan with fresh water and transfer everything from the sink into the pot. Boil until artichokes are tender. This typically takes about 30 minutes but you will know they are ready when they fall easily off a wooden skewer when it is inserted.
6) Drain (and cool) artichokes and stems on the side of the sink and prepare the dressing.
7) In a jar, combine the oil, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic and the rind of one lemon. Shake jar to mix dressing.
8) You can either serve these already dressed on individual plates or all together on a platter. Choose which way you are going to serve them and then squeeze a decent amount of lemon juice over each one, before spooning generous amounts of garlic dressing over each artichokes and the stems.
9) Serve (warm, room temperature or cold) with lots of crusty bread and plenty of serviettes, and most importantly – ENJOY!