Okie Dokie Artichokie!

While we’ve been exploring salads a bit lately, we’ve needed a break as well. It’s true, even in spring when all produce is so fresh and green, there’s only so many salads one can eat before burning out. In that vein, I’ve been breaking up our weeknight meals with a little Italian fare, healthy or not. Last week, it was lasagna. Today it’s Artichoke Pie, aka Tortino di Carciofi alla Fiorentina, aka Florentine Artichoke Pie.

This dish hails from Tuscany and is seriously simple. As a matter of fact, it’s so simple that the recipe from my vintage 60’s cookbook isn’t that far off from this authentic one I found online. The only difference was that my book called for frozen artichoke hearts whereas the authentic recipe calls for fresh (of course). The vintage cookbook was written for mid-American housewives who probably didn’t have access to all the beautiful, fresh produce we do today. So it makes sense that it would call for a convenience item such as frozen artichokes in place of fresh. To err on the side of caution, frozen was used.

Funnily enough, my local Sprouts didn’t have frozen artichoke hearts. I could’ve gone for fresh of course. Fresh is readily available, but since I’ve been working so many extra hours at my “Essential Industry” part-time gig, the extra work that I typically would revel in is just that… extra. Instead of using fresh, and schlepping to Walmart for frozen, I grabbed a jar of Cara Mia Marinated Artichoke Hearts. It’s a risk of course, but I figured it couldn’t be too much of a detraction. I also figured the seasoning in the marinade would add an extra dimension to the dish. I also got to skip the part about slicing the artichoke hearts!

I worried that the uptake in hours would hamper my kitchen adventures. To a certain extent, it has, but finding shortcuts like this has helped so much! For the most part my planning and foresight game has had to step it up. Ingredients need to be given a once over before I leave for the day so I can get right to work when I come home… in case I need to grab an extra apple or carrot or garnish before coming home. Due to the variable hours, sometimes we don’t even eat until 9pm and lunch is sometimes around 4pm. Such a departure from a peaceful time before all of this madness broke out.

This recipe was so concise that it didn’t require much time or effort at all. This was a huge relief because the time I spend in the kitchen is how I relax. So since I didn’t have to slice the artichokes, I simply drained off excess oil and squeezed half a lemon (I’ve got my eye on a Genoa Lemon Tree this year!) over top. The bit of oil left over and the lemon juice actually helped the flour to coat the various crevices of the artichoke slivers. Frying the artichokes in some good butter and olive oil mixture rendered them gently crispy on the outside and tender and flavorful on the inside. The seasoned egg and milk mixture created a soft blanket in which to enshroud the lovely artichokes.

Baked to perfection, this simple dish made a perfect breakfast/brunch/lunch, but what I found that even made it better was when we smeared the top with some ricotta and reheated it in the oven for a few minutes. It also could be enjoyed with some crusty, oily grilled baguette. The recipe says it serves four, but I won’t tell if two enjoy the whole in one sitting!

How do you take your eggs?

Currently Reading: Newsweek Special Edition: James Bond


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