Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 28, 2009I THINK IT WAS when I was in the sixth grade, that would have been 1945 or '46, that Dad mentioned one evening at dinner that a fellow he knew didn't know what artichokes were, how to eat them, even why people did eat them. I think he said this fellow was from Colorado.
Artichokes are basically cones containing cones. Using a good-sized chef's knife, I cut the stems off, taking a bit off the bottom at the same time, and then cut the tips off, taking maybe a quarter or a third off the top. Then I cut them in half, lengthwise.
Then, using a smaller knife, I dig out the thistles by separating the few leaves still remaining that enclose that part, being sure not to lose any of the heart. I've already picked a lemon and sliced it thin, and each artichoke is rubbed with lemon each time it's cut, on the cut surface.
I've also already skinned a few cloves of garlic. Sorry to be so out-of-order with this. The artichokes get quartered now and thrown into hot olive oil in the stainless-steel skillet, the garlic not far behind. After they sizzle a bit I put a lid on, mainly to keep the stove from getting too splashed. Then the lemon slices go in and things cook a bit.
After a while I splash in a little, yes, Lisa, a little cheap Pinot grigio, and let everything stew.
That was the appetizer. Afterward, leftover polenta and red sauce. Green salad, goes without saying.
Cheap Pinot grigio; Pinot nero, "Principato," provincia di Pavia, 2006