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artichokes

  • s

My local pork store (A+S--which is a branch of the one
in Bklyn, if I'm not mistaken) has what they call long-
stem artichokes, which indeed have long stems, as well
as a narrow, smaller bulb/bud (or whatever that part
is called). They are incredibly flavorful--the
experience is kind of like drinking good wine: the
flavor grows and changes in your mouth as you chew and
swallow. After eating just one, I became totally
addicted and want more more more. The A+S guys say
they've got the only such artichokes in the Western
Hemisphere, which I tend to doubt. Have any of you
seen them in stores?

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  1. j
    Josh Mittleman

    They may well be right that their artichokes are
    unique. They sound like a southern European variety.
    There are three or four varieties of artichoke grown in
    Europe and North Africa which simply aren't available
    here. I don't know why. The European varieties tend
    to be smaller and thinner, with more tender leaves and
    a smaller heart. That last bit may be the key: Most of
    the market for artichokes in this country is processed
    food that just uses the heart. Too bad, because the
    Italians and French do amazing things with their
    varieties. You can slice them and eat them raw as a
    salad, or stuff them with herbs and garlic and bake
    them in olive oil and then eat the whole thing.

    So where is this store of yours?

    10 Replies
    1. re: Josh Mittleman

      It's A+S Pork Store in Thornwood, in the ShopRite
      shopping center. Let me know if you need directions.

      I'll try to get back there today for more artichokes;
      hope they're still available!

      1. re: Sharon A
        j
        Josh Mittleman

        Thornwood in Westchester (be still my beating heart!),
        or another Thornwood?

        1. re: Josh Mittleman
          j
          Joyce Briand

          "Be still my beating heart" too...Please, please answer
          quickly with exact address and phone number (if
          possible).

          Thanks a thousand times in advance
          JB

          1. re: Joyce Briand
            s
            stephen kaye

            also good chokes at the apple farm, rt 119/tarrytown rd. next to white `plains bowl, and loehmann's. large globes, and nice small baby ones as well.

            1. re: Joyce Briand

              You're not going to believe it, but it's--yup--
              Thornwood in Westchester, as in right off the Marble
              Ave exit of the Saw Mill. Have a good time. There's
              lots of other good stuff at A+S, too.

              1. re: Sharon A

                BTW, that's 986 Broadway, 914-747-1449.

        2. re: Josh Mittleman

          Josh,

          Could you pass along a recipe for baked artichokes with
          herbs and garlic? sounds delicious. I've always simply
          steamed/boiled artichokes and served them with melted
          butter, lemon, garlic, but recently I've been searching
          for alternative recipes that don't require dairy, such
          as braised artichokes etc. Any approx directions would
          be much appreciated.

          1. re: Rachelhope

            The cookbook "Cucina Fresca" by Viana LaPlace and Evan
            Kleinman (from Caffe Angeli in L.A.), has several
            tasty artichoke alternatives, including a light bread
            stuffing. The "Roman Style", braised with good olive
            oil, garlic and lots of fresh mint is heavenly. At
            home when I steam, I make a thin vinaigrette with lots
            of minced garlic and pour over and into the leaves.
            The 'chokes usually have enough flavor to be enjoyed
            without any butter.

            1. re: Heidi
              j
              Josh Mittleman

              Heidi has it basically right: Remove the inedible bits
              of the artichoke. Depending on what kind you have, that
              may mean just trimming the tips of the leaves, or it
              may mean stripping away all the dark, tough leaves,
              trimming the tips of the rest, and digging out the
              choke. Take mint, parsley, garlic, and olive oil; chop
              it fine or even puree it into a paste, and stuff it
              into every crevasse of the artichoke. Put them in a
              dish (traditionally, standing upright) and pour in
              enough olive oil to half-cover them. Them bake until
              tender.

              Two caveats: The only recipe I have for this dish is
              really vague. And I haven't gotten it come out right
              yet, probably because I was using American artichokes
              and haven't figured out how to adapt the recipe. I'm
              still trying.

              If you can find a good Roman-style Italian cookbook, it
              will certainly have this recipe, either as Carciofi
              alla Romana, or "Upright Artichokes" (for which I don't
              recall the Italian).

            2. re: Rachelhope

              I've been using the big California
              globe 'chokes....braising them with
              leeks is good:

              break off tough outer leaves, slice
              of top (down to the pointy ends of
              the leaves), leave a little of the
              stem (which is pretty good)...cut
              vertically into quarters (put them
              into acidulated water after cutting
              to prevent blackening), then cut
              out fuzzy choke with tip of paring
              knife...

              saute sliced leeks (garlic, too, if
              you want) in olive oil for a minute
              or two, add artichokes, cook a few
              more minutes, then add a little
              white wine...cover and cook over
              low heat until artichokes ar
              tender, about 20 minutes...

              good hot or at room temp

          2. j
            Josh Mittleman

            Sharon, I just went by A&S in Thornwood, and I want to
            thank you for the pointer. It's a great Italian
            gourmet store.

            The only fresh artichokes they had were American. They
            also had marinated long-stemmed baby artichokes; is
            that what you were referring to, or did they have the
            same thing fresh? The fellow behind the counter told
            me they might get those in late next week.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Josh Mittleman

              I went by the place a few days ago, and only saw the marinated kind.
              Ok, not great, but a nice looking store (and pretty good
              rice balls for Westchester).

              I'm hoping the aforementioned artichokes are sometimes
              available fresh...

              1. re: Jim Leff
                j
                Josh Mittleman

                Those marinated artichokes are very good, by the way.

            2. Hi, just a comment--all artichokes have long stems. They are flowers. If you ever go to Italy while they are in season, you will see them in the open markets being sold as they are harvested--on long stems. Similarly, you'll see zucchini in its natural state, with the flowers still attached.