If you shop at a club store, you may run across large cans of artichoke hearts or artichoke pieces, nicely priced. There are also occasional sales on regular formats (13.85 ounce cans). Grab them!
Should you grab marinated or plain? It’s a toss-up. Canned artichokes, packed in water, are more bland out of the can, but fine for dips, soups and other recipes where you don’t want the vinaigrette that comes with marinated artichoke hearts.
Marinated artichoke hearts are marinated in white vinegar and cheaper oil: soybean, sunflower or lower-quality olive oil. If your palate notices the difference, you’re better off marinating your own, adding salt and spices to taste. They’re best in antipastos, salads and on sandwiches.
If you score a jumbo size, what should you do with all that artichoke?
The good news is that artichokes are low in calories: a 14 ounce can has 165 calories. So use them wherever and whenever. Here’s a starter list. A recipe for spinach artichoke dip (with a few calories) is below.
The Girl Who Ate Everything uses cream cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream in her spinach and artichoke dip. Here’s her recipe. See ours ?below.
WAYS TO USE ARTICHOKE
Antipasto: Create a platter with marinated artichokes, cheese, pimento (roasted red peppers), salami, olives, etc.
Crostini: Combine plain or marinated chopped artichoke hearts with seasoned ricotta (lemon zest, pepper, salt) and spread on grilled or toasted bread. Or, first spread the seasoned ricotta on the bread and top with a whole or sliced artichoke.
Fish topping: Do a quick sauté of plain artichoke hearts in olive oil with halved cherry/grape tomatoes, minced garlic and olives. Or, make a more intense sauce with brown butter, capers and sage.
Grains: Add plain artichoke hearts to cooked whole grains (barley, couscous, brown rice, quinoa, etc.), either hot or a grain salad. Mix with other ingredients of choice, from raisins to nuts
Gratin: Place plain artichoke hearts in a baking dish, with or without other cooked vegetables; top with shredded Gruyère and breadcrumbs, and bake at 400°F until the cheese is melted and the artichokes are warmed through.
Omelet: Toss in plain artichokes alone, with other vegetables and/or with cheese (feta, Gruyère, mozzarella, etc.): an easy, fancy side dish.
Pasta and risotto: Mix plain artichoke hearts with chopped or whole artichoke hearts and olive oil or sauce of choice.
Pizza: top with plain artichoke hearts, optional anchovies, capers, olives, red onion, etc.
Salads: Add plain or marinated artichoke hearts to a green salad.
Sandwiches: Top the main filling with marinated artichoke hearts.
Use canned, unmarinated artichoke hearts in recipes where you don’t want the soybean oil. Photo courtesy Roland Food./font>
THE HISTORY OF SPINACH & ARTICHOKE DIP
Spinach and artichoke dip can be served hot or cold, in a bowl or in a hollowed-out bread bowl (use a round loaf), along with crackers, pita chips, toasts and crudités.
Spinach and artichoke dip is one of the most popular dips in the U.S, so it’s surprising that we can’t find information on its origin. If you know it, please let us know.
Our mom recalls that in the 1950s or 1960s, a recipe appeared on the containers of mayonnaise or sour cream, and possibly on packages of Knorr or Lipton dry soup mixes, both of which featured spinach dip with sour cream, mayonnaise and chopped water chestnuts. Such recipes were typically developed by home economists employed by food producers, to encourage popular new ways to use their products.
Mom’s recipe, transferred from the package to an index card, is below.
Some recipes include cream cheese, Parmesan or other cheese. We prefer the a less cheesy cold dip but do like grated Emmental or Gruyère cheese in the hot dip.
RECIPE: SPINACH & ARTICHOKE DIP
1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, drained and squeezed
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced (and zested if desired)
2 tablespoons chopped green onion and/or parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional: a few dashes of nutmeg or Worcestershire Sauce
Optional for hot dip: grated Emmental, Fontina, Gruyère, Jarlsberg or similar cheese
1 cup artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (we use canned)
Baguette slices, crackers, pita chips/wedges, toast points, tortilla chips, etc.
1. DRAIN the spinach in a strainer and press with the back of a large spoon to press out the remaining water. Further blot with paper towels if needed.
2. COMBINE the spinach in a food processor with the sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice and optional zest and nutmeg; blend. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. ADD the artichokes and pulse a few times. For a cold dip, refrigerate spread in a tightly-capped container for several hours or overnight, to enable the flavors to blend.
4. FOR A HOT DIP: Preheat oven to 375°F. Blend in the grated cheese and fresh-ground black pepper. Place in an oven-proof dish, top with more grated cheese and bake at until golden brown, about 15–20 minutes.