Wednesday, May 06, 2009

All about artichokes (and photography of course!)

Last week was a very fun week. I had another feature on one of my favorite blogs, design*sponge, and found out I placed third in this month's DMBLGIT with this image - thanks Grace, Regine and judges for a great week!

The recipe I developed for design*sponge was inspired by spring and all of the new herbs and vegetables appearing in the markets, including one of my very favorites, artichokes. The secret to this dish is using frozen artichoke hearts, which greatly speeds up prep time and makes the dish a breeze! I've found some great frozen artichokes at Trader Joe's. Feel free to experiment with cheeses in this dish. You want something with good flavor (and meltability), but not something that will over-power the artichokes. Here's to spring!

On an unrelated note, a photographer friend, Steve Adams, asked me to remind everyone that the International Conference on Food Styling and Photography: Style without Borders is being held this year from June 12-15, 2009 at Boston University. Full details and a downloadable registration form are available here. Unfortunately, registration has now passed but if you are really interested perhaps there's something you can do. . .


Artichoke casserole
(serves 6)

1 pound frozen artichoke hearts
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cups aged Fontina cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, julienned
1 leek, white and light green parts only, well washed and cut into rounds
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
3 Tbs fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
3 Tbs fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 Tbs all purpose flour
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
1/2 tsp good sea salt (plus more to taste)
Olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 350˚ F. Cook artichokes according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan and sauté leeks until translucent.

Drain water from artichokes and add artichokes, salt and pepper to pan and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add herbs, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add milk and flour, mix well and simmer for ~10 minutes until mixture thickens a bit and flavors are infused throughout. Slowly add a few tablespoons of the hot milk mixture to the lightly beaten egg in a separate bowl to temper the egg.

Remove pan from heat. Add the egg mixture to the pan, followed by the spinach and the cheeses. Stir until cheese melts and ingredients are well combined. Add additional salt and pepper if desired.

Pour into a 7×10 casserole dish. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 35-45 minutes or until casserole is set (check after 35 minutes). Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley.

10 comments:

Junglefrog said...

I love the photos here Sabra! Especially the top collection... Just beautiful. I don't really have a thing for artichoke's. Which is probably more due to the fact that I simply have never really eaten much of it. The ones you get here typically are the canned mushy variety which is really not that good, so that is about all I have to go on. We do have them fresh in some places, so maybe I should try this recipe. It certainly looks delicious!

Ivy said...

I really like artichokes and this cassarole looks really great.

Julia @ Mélanger said...

Wow, your photos are amazing. I love your creativity. You have a good eye. I've only just started to play around in this space to support my baking blog. Sounds like you started in a similar way? I hope I can produce some images like yours one day!

Aran said...

beautiful sabra! will you be attending the conference? if so, we shall meet there!

oneordinaryday said...

Sending a little blog adoration your way. You'll see what I mean if you check out my blog. I've been enjoying reading your posts. Great job!

Olivia said...

Oh my! This looks heavenly! *swoon*

Gourmet Chick said...

I found you through Design Sponge and have to say this looks amazing - artichokes are always a little intimidating but this sounds not TOO difficult and truly delicious.

Lexi and Mary said...

My friend and I made this on the second night of a recent trip to visit friends in New Orleans, as part of a feast for 8 people. We could not find frozen artichoke hearts at Whole Foods there, so we substituted asparagus tips and kept the rest of the recipe the same. It was delicious. I would point out for other readers that this dish just did not appear totally done after cooking it for the full 45 minutes. But we trusted accuracy of the recipe the oven temperature, took it out and let it cool and it was perfect. A final note: While making this dish we brainstormed a tool (preferably an iPhone application) that would tell you how much hard cheese to buy when needing to grate a specific amount of it. We bought one $5 chunk of cheese too much in this scenario.

Rumela said...

I was made this artichoke casserole for dinner tonight, and it was delicious! I was a little nervous it wouldn't have enough depth of flavor, but it turned out scrumptious. even my hubby was loved eating this...as long as he can use his fingers. thank you for shearing your post.

Rumela said...

I was made this artichoke casserole for dinner tonight, and it was delicious! I was a little nervous it wouldn't have enough depth of flavor, but it turned out scrumptious. even my hubby was loved eating this...as long as he can use his fingers. thank you for shearing your post.

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