It takes an entire year for an artichoke to grow. At Smith Farms, the harvest begins in late February before the California sun gets too hot and turns the artichokes into inedible flowers. McKay Smith sells them at the Santa Monica Farmers Market from March until May.
Need help trimming that artichoke? Get advice from Good Food host Evan Kleiman here.
At the newly opened Spring in Downtown LA, chef Tony Esnault prepares artichokes french style. Find his recipe for Artichoke Barigoule below.
Chef Tony Esnault’s Artichoke Barigoule
8 medium artichokes
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, halved
1 lemon, peels reserved
½ carrot, diced
½ onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 small fresh bay leaf
1 cup white wine
1 tsp coriander seed, toasted
Salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare the artichokes: Fill a large bowl with water and squeeze the juice of the lemon halves into it. Using a sharp knife, halve the artichokes crosswise and discard the tops. Working with one artichoke at a time: pull off the outer green leaves until you reach the tender yellow leaves. Scrape out the hairy choke with a melon baller or a spoon. Trim and peel the base and stem, then quarter the heart and add the artichoke quarters to the bowl of water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.
Cook the artichokes: Drain the artichokes. Heat olive oil in a medium cast iron cocotte over medium heat and sweat the artichoke heart and stems with the vegetables, garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, then cook for 5 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce the heat by half. Add the coriander seed and lemon peel, then cover with vegetable or chicken stock. Cover with a lid and simmer the artichokes just until they become tender.
Preparation: Artichokes Barigoule is a classic Provençal dish that can be served either hot or cold. Cold, it can be used in a salad, whole or quartered, depending on the size of the chokes. Be sure to reserve the cooking liquid, which can be used as a vinaigrette by adding a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, to taste. This dish can also be served hot by pan roasting the artichokes and serving along any fish, such as cod, and using your cooking liquid as the broth for the dish.