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From salads to cheese dip, artichokes satisfy


Canned or frozen artichokes are sort of like the sister to San Marzano tomatoes. It’s really the next best thing and as far as I’m concerned, a totally acceptable, year-round alternative to buying out of season artichokes.

They’re user friendly and really cut down on the work needed to turn a bunch of artichokes, which is a talent and labor of love when done perfectly.

Low on the glycemic index, artichokes have a distinct flavor that’s mildly acidic. They’re great to have on hand for anitpasti, a quick sautee with garlic, lemon and capers or for one of these simple recipes.

My favorite pizza place salad is an adaptation of a local Bradenton pizza place’s version of a house salad. Michaelangelo’s, a NY family-owned pizza restaurant, was my family’s favorite cheap eat in town. This salad, made with house pickled vegetables, gave your greens a whole lot of punch. In my version, I add hearts of palm, roasted peppers and artichoke hearts.

Next try this artichoke and goat cheese dip. With a few pulses of a food processor, you can have a simple, creamy appetizer ready in just a few minutes. Artichoke dip + 1 bag pita chips = your potluck item done in under five.

Favorite Pizza Place Salad Artichoke, Hearts of Palm and Pickled Vegetable Salad

Serves 4-6 as a starter

5 oz. Organic Mesclun Greens

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1 can hearts of palm, sliced crosswise

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2 small Persian cucumbers, sliced on a bias

1 roasted pepper, cut into thin slices

1 small red onion, peeled, halved longwise, and sliced thinly crosswise

1 pint assorted pickled antipasti vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, pepperoncini)

12 Kalamata olives

Balsamic vinegar, to taste

good quality olive oil, to taste

pinch dried oregano

fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Place the greens in a bowl and set aside. Arrange the artichoke hearts and hearts of palm on the platter and drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and balsamic vinegar.

Toss the greens with a splash of balsamic, olive oil and a pinch of salt, pepper and oregano.

Arrange the greens on the platter and garnish with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Dip

Serves 4-6 as a starter

1 10.5 oz. log chevre goat cheese*

2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered

2 cans artichoke hearts, strained

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Place goat cheese and garlic in bowl of food processor. Pulse until garlic is finely chopped.

Add artichokes and pulse until well chopped. Season with about eight twists of milled black pepper and a few pinches of salt. Pulse and run machine for about 10 seconds. Season to taste and serve or refrigerate, covered for up to two days. Serve cold with pita chips, tortilla chips or crudite.

For a fat free version, use 16 ounces of fat-free ricotta and add zest of lemon.