Spring-Inspired Artichoke Pizza
Artichokes are in season in most places around the country. For some this fact may be thrilling, yet for others it may be intimidating. Today we're sharing a recipe for homemade pizza with artichokes and we're also giving detailed instructions for how to prepare and cook fresh artichokes. So for those who are thrilled or intimidated, we hope to bring everyone together in the kitchen today!
Preparing artichokes takes patience, more than just a little time and attention. Start with carefully snipping the tips of the artichoke leaves, then peel the outer dark green layer using a paring knife, seasoning the vegetable, and finally simmer or steam the artichoke. Below you will find step by step instructions to prepare and cook a fresh artichoke. When you master this, you'll be eating artichokes all the time.
After cooking the artichokes you may not want to use them in a recipe but instead just eat them plain, simply enjoying the fruits of your labor. My favorite way to eat a fresh artichoke is to peel the leaves as I eat, and individually dip each leaf into melted butter with fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme. You can also make an aioli dipping sauce, which tastes wonderful with fresh artichokes.
We chose to use our fresh artichokes to make a spring-inspired pizza. The pizza is topped with several other spring vegetables like spinach and tomatoes then finished with sausage and cheese. With plenty of vegetables, meat, and a healthy dose of melted cheese, the whole family will be enjoying this pizza and maybe enjoying artichokes for the first time.
Steps to preparing and steaming an artichoke:
1. Wash the artichoke thoroughly
2. Using a large knife, chop approximately 1/2 inch from the stem of the artichoke,
and remove about an inch from the tip of the artichoke creating a flat top.
3. Using kitchen shears, snip off the top of each artichoke leaf.
4. Peel the tough, dark green layer off of the stem with a paring knife or
vegetable peeler. The stem is actually part of the artichoke heart, so it is
important to peel the stem so you can eat it later!
5. Rub the entire artichoke with a halved lemon, making sure juice covers the
leaves and the areas you exposed from peeling or cutting. This will keep
the artichoke from turning brown during the steaming process.
6. Fill a pot with about 1 inch of water and place the artichokes upside down in the
water so that the flat top is on the bottom of the pot and the stems stick
straight up. You can also place the lemon you used earlier in the pot to
provide extra protection against the artichoke turning brown.
7. Place the pot over med-high heat and simmer the artichoke for around 25 or 30
minutes. Giving approximate cooking-times is difficult due to size
variations, so continue to check the artichoke every 5 minutes after the first
15 minutes have passed. You will know the artichoke is ready to eat/use
when the leaves pull-off easily.
8. Artichokes can be eaten plain, with a dipping sauce, or used in a recipe. In this
case, the artichokes will be used as a pizza topping. Because only the
bottom, fleshy part of the artichoke leaf is edible, use a spoon to scrape the
“meaty” bottom from the tough leaf. Discard the leaf and set aside the fleshy
“meat” in a bowl.
9. After you've removed all of the leaves, you will arrive at the “heart” of the
artichoke. Here you will find tangible proof that artichokes are related to
thistles, as the “heart” is protected by rough/spiky hair-like filaments. Scoop
these away with a small spoon to uncover the artichoke heart (which
continues to the bottom of the stem), that can be chopped and added to the
bowl the with “meaty” portion from the leaves.
10. There are many ways to prepare and eat artichokes. This method works well
to remove all the edible parts of an artichoke for a pizza topping. If you are
intending to do something else with the artichoke, there are great photos and
movies on the internet demonstrating alternative methods of preparing,
cooking, and eating.
Artichoke, Spinach and Chorizo Pizza with Queso Fresco
2 artichokes, cooked and prepared as described above
A handful of spinach, torn into small pieces
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cup chorizo sausage, cooked
1/2 cup queso fresco, shredded
1/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
one pizza crust– use your favorite recipe, or use a store-bought crust
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat baking sheet with olive oil and dust with cornmeal. Press crust onto a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle artichoke pieces, tomatoes, and spinach evenly across crust. Add the chorizo, and cover with queso fresco and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crust is firm and cheese is bubbly and just beginning to brown.
All images via Becky Rosenthal / Vintage Mixer