In addition to great wines, beautiful coastlines, and champion golf courses, Monterey County is also known for artichokes. In fact Castroville, located inland of Monterey city, claims to be the "Artichoke Center of the World". The edible green flower is a favorite ingredient or stand alone dish for Monterey County locals and visitors alike. Below is one of our favorite artichoke recipes from Food Network's Anne Burrell. You can enjoy other local fare along with deliciously paired wines at the 2012 Harvest Wine and Food Festival on the Monterey Peninsula. For tickets visit californiawinefestival.com
4 medium artichokes
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 bunch mint, picked and cut into a chiffonade
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted, optional
3 anchovy fillets, minced, optional
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups white wine
Before starting this recipe be aware that there is a lot of waste involved in artichokes. It's ok. Just accept it and move on.
Squeeze 1 lemon into a large bowl filled with water and place the lemon halves in the water.
Cut off the pointy tops of the artichokes. Remove and reserve the stem of the artichoke. Peel off the tough green outer leaves and discard.
Gently spread the leaves of the artichoke. Using a melon baller, scoop out the hairy "choke" in the center of the artichokes. When clean reserve them in the lemon water. Remove the tough outer skin on the stems and reserve them in the lemon water as well.
In a small bowl combine the garlic, herbs, Parmesan, bread crumbs, crushed red pepper, pine nuts and anchovies, if using. Finely chop the reserved artichoke stems and add them to the bowl. Zest and juice the remaining lemon and add that to the bowl. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until the mixture forms a paste. Season with salt.
Stuff the artichokes with the paste.
Place the artichokes standing up in a saucepan large enough to accommodate them. Add the wine to the saucepan and enough lemon water to come 3/4 up the sides of the artichokes. Add the lemon halves to the pan also. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt.
Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the base of the artichokes are tender when poked with a fork.
Serve hot or room temperature drizzled with generous amount of olive oil.
Recipe from Anne Burrell on foodnetwork.com