Thursday, July 4, 2019

Asparagus

Asparagus


sparagus has serious staying power: The spears are the aboveground plant shoots of an underground crown that produces for up to 20 years—something to keep in mind if you decide to plant asparagus in your home garden!

In the market, you will see a pretty purple variety in addition to the traditional green type. These purple spears turn green when cooked. Less-common white asparagus lacks color because it is grown without sunlight. Although white asparagus is sweeter and more buttery in flavor than traditional green asparagus, it is also considerably more expensive, and its more delicate flavor doesn’t typically survive long-distance shipping.

You might assume that thinner spears are younger and more tender than thicker ones. However, the thickness of an asparagus spear has nothing to do with its age—a thin spear will not mature into a thick spear. Instead, the diameter is determined by the age of the entire plant (younger crowns produce more slender stalks) and its variety. Thick or thin, asparagus is sweet, nutty, and grassy, with a pleasing texture.

Since both thick and thin spears are good bets, choose the size that best suits the cooking method. We have noted in the recipes when you should choose a particular size. Thicker stalks are better for recipes like Roasted Asparagus with Mint-Orange Gremolata and Grilled Asparagus with Chili-Lime Butter because they will stand up to the intense dry heat that would shrivel skinnier spears. Thin spears are good candidates for soups and stir-fries, such as our emerald-hued Creamy Asparagus Soup and Stir-Fried Asparagus with Shiitake Mushrooms, as well as for topping our buttery Asparagus–Goat Cheese Tart.

shopping and storage
Once a seasonal springtime treat, asparagus is now available year-round. No matter what thickness you buy, look for spears with the top tightly closed and the bottom still moist. (You may see asparagus sold upright in shallow tubs of water for this reason.) Spears with the tops flowering open and dry bottoms are past their prime. Thicker spears (½ to ¾ inch) are the most versatile and we found that they worked best in many recipes, since thinner spears can easily overcook. Purchase thinner spears (½ inch or thinner), which are less fibrous, for recipes where the asparagus is raw or for recipes where it is pureed. Pencil-thin spears often command a high price at the market.

To store asparagus in the refrigerator, trim off the ends and stand the spears up in a glass or jar filled with 1 inch of water. Cover with plastic wrap. If you haven’t stored your asparagus this way and it has wilted, you can also perk it up by leaving it in the water-filled glass overnight.

vegetable science
Shades of Asparagus
We only eat young asparagus—the new shoots of the plant crown. Much of the flavor and prized texture of asparagus resides in the tips, which are comprised of leaf-like cladodes, or stems. As mature asparagus begins to bud out, the stems become woody and nearly inedible. This is particularly true of green asparagus, the most common variety. White asparagus, which is more common in Europe, is more tender. It is an artificially cultivated crop: The shoots are covered in soil as they grow, shielding them from sunlight and preventing the photosynthesis that would turn them green from chlorophyll. They remain white but continue to grow—a process called blanching. Purple asparagus, a cultivar of green asparagus, gets its violet color from anthocyanins, a beneficial type of antioxidant.

to peel or not to peel?
Pencil-thin asparagus spears need only a quick trim at the base and they are good to go. But thicker stalks have woodier bases that need to be dealt with before you cook with them. Oftentimes recipes simply instruct you to snap off the bottom portion of each stalk at its natural breaking point. But is it worth the fuss to instead trim off a smaller amount and then peel the lower part of the asparagus spears? Yes, it really is. We discovered that spears snapped off at their natural breaking point lost an average of half their weight. You lose a lot of tasty asparagus that way! If you trim the bottom 1 inch from the base of each spear and then peel the lower half of each stalk to remove its woody exterior, you will end up with much less waste, not to mention long, elegant-looking, tender spears that cook evenly every time.

vegetable prep
Trimming Asparagus

1. Trim bottom 1 inch from each spear (whether asparagus spears are thick or thin).

2. For thicker asparagus, peel bottom half of each stalk using vegetable peeler to remove woody exterior and expose tender inner flesh.
Cutting Asparagus on Bias

After trimming asparagus, if recipe specifies, cut on bias.
PAN-ROASTED ASPARAGUS
Serves 4 to 6
Total time: 20 minutes

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Pan roasting delivers crisp, evenly browned asparagus spears without the need to turn on the oven. We decided on thicker spears because thin ones overcooked before they browned. To help the asparagus release moisture, which encourages caramelization and better flavor, we parcooked it, covered, with oil and water before browning it. The evaporating water helped to steam the asparagus, producing bright green, crisp-tender spears. At this point, we removed the lid and cranked up the heat until the spears were evenly browned on the bottom. There is no need to brown the asparagus all over; tasters preferred the flavor of spears browned on only one side, and, as a bonus, the partially browned spears never had a chance to go limp. Look for asparagus spears between ½ and ¾ inch in diameter. You can use white or green asparagus here; if using white, peel just the outermost layer of the bottom halves of the spears. You will need a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid for this recipe.

2 pounds thick asparagus
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon water
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges
1. Trim bottom inch of asparagus spears and discard. Peel bottom halves of spears until white flesh is exposed. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of asparagus with tips pointed in 1 direction and remaining asparagus with tips pointed in opposite direction. Shake skillet gently to help distribute spears evenly (they will not quite fit in single layer). Add water, cover, and cook until asparagus is bright green but still crisp, about 5 minutes.
2. Uncover, season with salt and pepper to taste, increase heat to high, and cook until asparagus is well browned on one side and tip of paring knife inserted at base of largest spear meets little resistance, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer asparagus to serving dish and serve with lemon wedges.
VARIATIONS
Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Red Onion and Bacon
Before cooking asparagus, cook 4 chopped bacon slices in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, 7 to 10 minutes; transfer to paper towel–lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat left in pan, add 1 thinly sliced red onion, and cook over medium-high heat until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon maple syrup and cook until onions are well glazed, about 2 minutes; transfer to bowl. Rinse and dry skillet, then cook asparagus as directed. Before serving, top asparagus with onions and bacon.
Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives
Before cooking asparagus, cook 2 minced garlic cloves with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until just golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes and ½ cup pitted, chopped kalamata olives and cook until tomatoes begin to break down, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer mixture to bowl. Rinse and dry skillet, then cook asparagus as directed. Before serving, top asparagus with tomato mixture, ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, and ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese.
ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH MINT-ORANGE GREMOLATA
Serves 4 to 6
Total time: 25 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Oven roasting can bring out the best in seasonal vegetables. But when it comes to delicate asparagus, simply tossing the spears with oil, salt, and pepper and spreading them on a baking sheet doesn’t always produce reliably crisp-tender spears. After a few tests, we discovered that thicker asparagus (½ to ¾ inch in diameter) held up better to roasting. To ensure a hard sear on our spears, we preheated the baking sheet and resisted the urge to give it a shake during roasting. The result? Intense, flavorful browning on one side of the asparagus and vibrant green on the other. For complementary seasoning, we took our cue from Italian cuisine and prepared a bright garnish of minced fresh herbs called a gremolata. All of our versions reinforced the stalks’ vibrant flavor and gave this simple side a more distinct presence. You can use white or green asparagus in this recipe; if using white, peel just the outermost layer of the bottom halves of the spears.
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 pounds thick asparagus
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine mint, parsley, orange zest, garlic, and cayenne in bowl; set aside.
2. Trim bottom inch of asparagus spears and discard. Peel bottom halves of spears until white flesh is exposed. Place asparagus in large baking pan and toss with 2 tablespoons oil, salt, and pepper.
3. Transfer asparagus to preheated sheet and spread into even layer. Roast, without moving asparagus, until undersides of spears are browned, tops are vibrant green, and tip of paring knife inserted at base of largest spear meets little resistance, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer asparagus to serving platter, drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons oil, sprinkle with gremolata, and serve immediately.
VARIATIONS
Roasted Asparagus with Cilantro-Lime Gremolata
Omit mint and cayenne. Substitute ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro for parsley and lime zest for orange zest.
Roasted Asparagus with Tarragon-Lemon Gremolata
Omit cayenne. Substitute tarragon for mint and lemon zest for orange zest.
VEGETABLES REIMAGINED
ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH MINT-ORANGE GREMOLATA
Our roasting method for asparagus results in one side of the stalk becoming beautifully browned, with all of the accompanying rich roasted flavors, and the other side remaining bright green, for a vibrant presentation. Thicker asparagus stalks (½ to ¾ inch) hold up better to the intense dry heat of roasting, and peeling the bottom halves of the stalks results in a silky finished texture in the roasted spears.

1. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven and heat the oven to 500 degrees.

2. Trim the bottom 1 inch from each asparagus spear. This ensures less waste than breaking off the spears where they bend.

3. Peel the bottom halves of the asparagus spears using a vegetable peeler to expose the tender white flesh.

4. Toss the asparagus with the oil and seasonings and arrange the spears in an even layer on the preheated baking sheet.

5. Roast the asparagus without moving it. This creates flavorful browning on one side of the spears and leaves vibrant green color on the other side.

6. Transfer the roasted asparagus to a serving platter, sprinkle the bright, citrusy gremolata over the top, and serve.

Parmesan-Crusted Asparagus
PARMESAN-CRUSTED ASPARAGUS
Serves 4 to 6
Total time: 50 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS A cheesy, light-and-crisp coating makes asparagus irresistible, so naturally you want it to stay put when you’re eating the asparagus. So, we first salted the spears to rid them of excess moisture. Then we whipped a combination of honey and egg whites to soft peaks, dipped the asparagus spears in the clingy mixture, and coated them with a mixture of bread crumbs and Parmesan. We sprinkled the spears with more cheese at the end of roasting. Look for asparagus spears between ½ and ¾ inch in diameter. Work quickly when tossing the asparagus with the egg whites, as the salt on the asparagus will rapidly begin to deflate the whites.
2 pounds thick asparagus, trimmed
Salt and pepper
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1½ cups)
¾ cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon honey
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Using fork, poke holes up and down asparagus spears. Toss asparagus with ½ teaspoon salt and let sit for 30 minutes on paper towel–lined baking sheet.
2. Meanwhile, combine 1 cup Parmesan, panko, melted butter, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon pepper, and cayenne in bowl. Transfer half of panko mixture to shallow dish; set aside remaining panko mixture. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and honey on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape into 13 by 9-inch baking dish and toss asparagus in mixture. Working with 1 spear at a time, dredge half of asparagus in panko and transfer to prepared sheet. Refill shallow dish with remaining panko mixture and repeat with remaining half of asparagus.
3. Bake asparagus until just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup Parmesan and continue to bake until cheese is melted, panko is golden brown, and tip of paring knife inserted at base of largest spear meets little resistance, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to platter. Serve.
BRAISED ASPARAGUS, PEAS, AND RADISHES WITH TARRAGON
Serves 4 to 6
Total time: 30 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Braising asparagus is an unexpected but delightful way to capitalize on its tender springtime freshness. To turn our early-season asparagus into a side dish, we started by softening minced shallot in olive oil with additional aromatics. To build a flavorful braising liquid, we poured in water and lemon and orange zest and dropped in a bay leaf. Adding the vegetables in stages ensured that each cooked at its own rate and maintained a crisp texture. Peppery radishes, which turned soft and sweet with cooking, nicely complemented the greener notes of asparagus and peas (frozen peas were reliably sweet, and adding them off the heat prevented overcooking). In no time at all, we had a simple, warm dish of radiant vegetables in an invigorating, complex broth, proof positive that braising can bring out the best in even the most delicate flavors. The addition of chopped fresh tarragon was a final nod to spring. Look for asparagus spears no thicker than ½ inch.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, sliced into thin rounds
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
3 fresh thyme sprigs
Pinch red pepper flakes
10 radishes, trimmed and quartered
1¼ cups water
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
2 cups frozen peas
4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1. Cook oil, shallot, garlic, thyme sprigs, and pepper flakes in Dutch oven over medium heat until shallot is just softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in radishes, water, lemon zest, orange zest, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until radishes can be easily pierced with tip of paring knife, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in asparagus, cover, and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Off heat, stir in peas, cover, and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Stir in tarragon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
GRILLED ASPARAGUS
Serves 4
Total time: 35 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS The main challenge with grilling delicate asparagus is protecting it from overcooking while still developing a good char. For great grilled asparagus, we opted for thicker spears, which combined maximum browning potential with a meaty, crisp-tender texture. A simple medium-hot fire worked best—the spears were on and off the grill in less than 10 minutes. Brushing the spears with butter rather than oil before grilling gave us crispy, nutty asparagus. We tried infusing flavor with zesty marinades, but because asparagus has a naturally tough outer skin, most of the seasonings were left behind in the bowl. Instead, we decided to add flavorings directly to the butter we were brushing on the asparagus, which worked perfectly. Look for asparagus spears between ½ and ¾ inch in diameter. You can use white or green asparagus in this recipe; if using white, peel just the outermost layer of the bottom halves of the spears.
1½ pounds thick asparagus
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Salt and pepper
1. Trim bottom inch of asparagus spears and discard. Peel bottom halves of spears until white flesh is exposed. Brush asparagus with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
2a. For a charcoal grill Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter three-quarters filled with charcoal briquettes (4½ quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
2b. For a gas grill Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-high.
3. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place asparagus in even layer on grill and cook until browned and tip of paring knife inserted at base of largest spear meets little resistance, 4 to 10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Transfer asparagus to platter and serve.
VARIATIONS
Grilled Asparagus with Chili-Lime Butter
Add 1 teaspoon grated lime zest, ½ teaspoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes to butter before brushing asparagus in step 1.
Grilled Asparagus with Orange-Thyme Butter
Add 1 teaspoon grated orange zest and 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme to butter before brushing asparagus in step 1.
ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH RADISHES, PECORINO ROMANO, AND CROUTONS
Serves 4 to 6
Total time: 30 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Raw asparagus is just as delicious as cooked; it’s mildly sweet and nutty, with a delicate crunch and none of the sulfurous flavors that cooked asparagus sometimes has. Many recipes call for cut-up lengths of raw asparagus, but even when we peeled the spears, they were too fibrous. As long as we chose the right spears (bright green, firm, and crisp, with tightly closed tips) and sliced them very thin on the bias, we could avoid woodiness but still keep things crunchy. This technique worked best with thicker spears, a welcome discovery because they’re available year-round. To complement the fresh asparagus, we wanted an herby dressing, and turned to mint and basil. A high ratio of herbs to oil created a pesto-style dressing potent enough to enhance but not mask the flavor of the asparagus. A food processor made it easy to chop the herbs together with Pecorino Romano cheese, garlic, lemon, and seasonings before stirring in extra-virgin olive oil. A few radishes, more Pecorino, and buttery croutons rounded out the salad. Look for asparagus spears between ½ and ¾ inch in diameter. Parmesan can be substituted for the Pecorino Romano. Grate the cheese for the dressing with a rasp-style grater or use the small holes of a box grater; shave the cheese for the salad with a vegetable peeler.
CROUTONS
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, crusts discarded, cut into ½-inch pieces (1⅓ cups)
Salt and pepper
PESTO DRESSING
2 cups fresh mint leaves
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
SALAD
2 pounds thick asparagus, trimmed
5 radishes, trimmed and sliced thin
2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, shaved (¾ cup)
Salt and pepper
1. For the croutons Heat butter and oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Add bread pieces and ⅛ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
2. For the pesto dressing Process mint, basil, Pecorino, lemon zest and juice, garlic, and ¾ teaspoon salt in food processor until smooth, about 20 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With processor running, slowly add oil until incorporated; transfer to large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. For the salad Cut asparagus tips from spears into ¾-inch-long pieces. Slice asparagus spears ⅛ inch thick on bias. Add asparagus tips and spears, radishes, and Pecorino to dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer salad to serving platter and top with croutons. Serve.
VARIATIONS
Asparagus Salad with Oranges, Feta, and Hazelnuts
Omit croutons and radishes. Substitute 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese for Pecorino in the salad. Cut away peel and pith from 2 oranges. Holding fruit over bowl, use paring knife to slice between membranes to release segments. Add to salad in step 3. Add ¾ cup toasted, skinned, and chopped hazelnuts to salad in step 3.
Asparagus Salad with Grapes, Goat Cheese, and Almonds
Omit croutons. Substitute 6 ounces thinly sliced grapes for radishes and 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese for Pecorino in the salad. Add ¾ cup toasted and chopped almonds to salad in step 3.
TORTELLINI SALAD WITH ASPARAGUS AND FRESH BASIL DRESSING
Serves 8 to 10
Total time: 55 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS For a supereasy pasta salad that would impress any picnic crowd, we paired convenient store-bought cheese tortellini with crisp asparagus and a dressing inspired by the flavors of classic pesto. First, we blanched the asparagus in the same water we later used to cook the tortellini, which imbued the pasta with the asparagus’s delicate flavor. Once the tortellini were cooked, we marinated them briefly with bright, juicy cherry tomatoes in a bold dressing of extra-virgin olive oil, basil, lemon juice, shallot, and garlic. To finish the salad, we tossed in some grated Parmesan and toasted pine nuts along with the blanched asparagus just before serving. Cooking the pasta until it is completely tender and leaving it slightly wet after rinsing are important for the texture of the finished salad. Be sure to set up the ice water bath before cooking the asparagus; plunging the pieces into the cold water immediately after blanching retains their bright green color and ensures that they don’t overcook.
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
1 pound dried cheese tortellini
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup chopped fresh basil
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Fill large bowl halfway with ice and water. Add asparagus and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to ice water, and let sit until cool, about 2 minutes. Transfer asparagus to baking sheet lined with triple layer of paper towels and dry well.

2. Return pot of water to boil. Add tortellini and cook, stirring often, until tender. Drain tortellini, rinse with cold water, and drain again, leaving tortellini slightly wet.

3. Whisk oil, lemon juice, shallot, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in large bowl until combined. Add tortellini and tomatoes and toss to combine. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Stir in asparagus, basil, Parmesan, and pine nuts and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Creamy Asparagus Soup
CREAMY ASPARAGUS SOUP
Serves 6
Total time: 45 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Cream of asparagus soup should be bright green, bursting with asparagus flavor, and flawlessly smooth, but often the butter and cream stirred in before serving make the soup heavy. To eke out maximum asparagus flavor, we tried sautéing the spears, but ended up with a dark, bitter soup. Broiling the asparagus yielded similar results. Lowering the heat and cooking the asparagus spears gently to slowly coax out their flavor worked. (Tasters agreed that the richness of butter was a must here.) We learned the hard way not to overcook the asparagus; to retain their fresh flavor, the pieces must be just tender enough to puree. To achieve more creaminess without adding more cream, leeks, which are great for adding sweet silkiness without muddling flavors, came to mind. For a beautiful emerald hue, we stirred a handful of peas into the pot just before pureeing. They added further sweetness and body, thanks to their starch. A bit of Parmesan lent a nuttiness that echoed that of the asparagus, while lemon juice brightened the dish. Look for asparagus spears no thicker than ½ inch.

2 pounds thin asparagus, trimmed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly
Salt and pepper
3½ cups chicken broth
½ cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon lemon juice

1. Cut tips off asparagus spears and reserve. Cut spears into ½-inch pieces. Melt 1½ tablespoons butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add asparagus tips and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 2 minutes; transfer to bowl and set aside.
2. Add remaining 1½ tablespoons butter, asparagus spears, leeks, ½ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper to now-empty pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.

3. Add broth to pot and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in peas and Parmesan. Working in batches, process soup in blender until smooth, about 1 minute; transfer to clean pot. Stir in cream, lemon juice, and asparagus tips and cook over medium-low heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Asparagus–Goat Cheese Tart
ASPARAGUS–GOAT CHEESE TART
Serves 4
Total time: 55 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS This beautiful tart takes just minutes to assemble and makes for an impressive brunch dish, appetizer, or even a simple light lunch or dinner. We experimented with several different crusts, trying a pie shell, a tart shell, and parbaked puff pastry. The buttery, flaky puff pastry was absolutely irresistible, and so easy to prep. For a fresh, light filling, we simply scattered the asparagus and other toppings over the pastry base. Cutting the asparagus spears into thin 1-inch pieces made the tart easier to eat and ensured that the asparagus didn’t need precooking. We tossed the pieces with olive oil, plus garlic, lemon zest, scallions, and olives. For a creamy base to anchor the toppings, tangy, soft goat cheese nicely complemented the bright, grassy asparagus. Blending in a bit of olive oil made it easier to spread. We dolloped more cheese on top of the asparagus and baked the tart to golden perfection. To thaw frozen puff pastry, let it sit either in the refrigerator for 24 hours or on the counter for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Look for asparagus spears no thicker than ½ inch.
6 ounces thin asparagus, trimmed and cut ¼ inch thick on bias (1 cup)
2 scallions, sliced thin
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 ounces (1 cup) goat cheese, softened
1 (9½ by 9-inch) sheet puff pastry, thawed
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine asparagus, scallions, 1 tablespoon oil, olives, garlic, zest, salt, and pepper in bowl. In separate bowl, mix ¾ cup goat cheese and 1 tablespoon oil until smooth; set aside.
2. Unfold pastry onto lightly floured counter and roll into 10-inch square; transfer to prepared sheet. Lightly brush outer ½ inch of pastry square with water to create border, then fold border toward center, pressing gently to seal.
3. Spread goat cheese mixture in even layer over center of pastry, avoiding folded border. Scatter asparagus mixture over goat cheese, then crumble remaining ¼ cup goat cheese over top of asparagus mixture.
4. Bake until pastry is puffed and golden and asparagus is crisp-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, cut into 4 equal pieces, and serve.
STIR-FRIED ASPARAGUS WITH SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS
Serves 4
Total time: 20 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Asparagus, like many vegetables, is a natural candidate for stir-frying because it cooks in a flash. The intense heat beautifully caramelizes it, while the short cooking time ensures that its crisp-tender bite is preserved. Starting with a hot skillet and then stirring the asparagus only occasionally during cooking allowed the asparagus to char before it overcooked, creating a natural sweetness that paired perfectly with the potent Asian-inspired sauce. Thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms complemented the fresh-flavored asparagus and added some heft. To ensure that the asparagus and mushrooms cooked evenly, we added a bit of water, creating a small amount of steam that cooked the vegetables through before evaporating and leaving behind a flavorful, clingy glaze. Look for asparagus spears no thicker than ½ inch. Serve as a side dish, or over rice.

2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and cut on bias into 2-inch lengths
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
2 scallions, green parts only, sliced thin on bias
1. Combine water, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, ginger, and sesame oil in bowl.
2. Heat vegetable oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking. Add asparagus and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is spotty brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring twice, until asparagus is crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with scallion greens, and serve.

VARIATION

Stir-Fried Asparagus with Red Bell Pepper
Omit soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, ginger, and sesame oil. Reduce water to 1 tablespoon. Whisk 1 tablespoon orange juice, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ketchup, and ½ teaspoon salt into water. Substitute 1 stemmed and seeded red bell pepper cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks for shiitakes.

Artichokes are the immature flower buds of a perennial plant in the thistle family

Artichokes are the immature flower buds of a perennial plant in the thistle family


rtichokes are beautiful and sculptural, and also somewhat mysterious and forbidding. But they are far more user-friendly in the kitchen than they may appear at first glance.

Artichokes are the immature flower buds of a perennial plant in the thistle family. These dramatic plants can grow quite large, reaching up to 6 feet in diameter and 3 to 4 feet in height. The vegetables are commonly marketed in three sizes: small (2 to 4 ounces), medium (8 to 10 ounces), and large (12 ounces or more). Curiously, different-size artichokes simultaneously bud on the same plant; those that grow on the center stalk are the largest, and the smallest grow at the juncture between the plant’s leaves and the stem.

We like medium artichokes best for braising, roasting, and grilling.

They are easy to prepare, and one artichoke conveniently serves one person. We prefer to halve them for even cooking, as in our Braised Artichokes with Tomatoes and Thyme and Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Butter.

We also enjoy stuffing whole artichokes, which makes for a dramatic presentation that’s wonderful for entertaining. Small artichokes are perfect for frying, and in this chapter you’ll find Jewish-Style Fried Artichokes, a classic Roman preparation. The small ones are also best for making tender marinated artichokes, a far more flavorful option than mushy store-bought marinated artichokes.

Ninety percent of the work that goes into preparing most artichoke dishes is cleaning the artichokes. By the time you’ve finished trimming away the inedible parts, it may seem like you’re throwing away more of the vegetable than you’re keeping! But it’s well worth it to peel back those layers to discover the hidden, delicious inner edible portions.

shopping and storage
While you will see artichokes throughout most of the year, springtime is high season. Then, artichokes of all sizes are widely available. When selecting fresh artichokes, look for leaves that are tight, compact, and bright green. If you give an artichoke a squeeze, its leaves should squeak as they rub together (evidence that the artichoke still possesses much of its moisture). The leaves should also snap off cleanly. If the leaves bend rather than snap, or if they appear dried out or feathery at the edges, the artichoke is over the hill.

Because fresh artichokes are limited by seasonality, we often turn to prepared artichokes. When buying them, avoid premarinated versions; we prefer to control the seasonings ourselves. We also don’t recommend canned hearts, which tend to taste waterlogged and have tough leaves. Smaller whole jarred artichoke hearts, labeled “baby” or “cocktail,” are best. We have noted recipes in which frozen artichoke hearts are acceptable to use.

Artichokes will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days if sprinkled lightly with water and stored in a zipper-lock plastic bag.

vegetable science
Why Do Artichokes Turn Brown?

Artichokes are rich in phenolic compounds. When the cell walls of artichokes are cut or crushed, enzymes (polyphenol oxidase) in their tissues are exposed to oxygen and react with those phenols, producing unattractive black- or brown-colored pigments. Rubbing the exposed ends with acid slows the rate of browning. We found that vinegar (which is high in acetic acid) and parsley (which is high in ascorbic acid) each minimized darkening when added to cooking water. But lemon juice (which contains both citric and ascorbic acids) proved far more effective, limiting this enzymatic reaction almost completely.

anatomy of an artichoke
What’s Edible and What’s Not?
The entire exterior of the artichoke (including several layers of leaves), as well as the fuzzy choke and tiny pointy leaves at the center, cannot be eaten. The tender inner heart, leaves, and stem are entirely edible. The cooked heart can be eaten with a knife and fork. To eat the tough outer leaves, use your teeth to scrape the flesh from the underside of each leaf.

vegetable prep
Preparing Fresh Artichokes

1. Cut off top quarter of artichoke with chef’s knife.

2. Break and pull off bottom outer leaves by pulling downward on them.

3. Trim top portion of outer leaves with kitchen shears.

4. Either trim stem and base or, if called for, peel stem.

5. Cut artichoke in half lengthwise and scoop out choke using small spoon.

6. Submerge prepared artichokes in lemon water to prevent them from turning brown.

Total time: 1 hour
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Roasting artichokes concentrates their delicate, nutty flavor. We prepped the artichokes for the oven by trimming the leaves, halving the artichokes, and removing the fuzzy chokes. Submerging the prepped artichokes in water and lemon juice kept them from oxidizing, and tossing them with oil and roasting cut side down encouraged browning.

 Because they have so much surface area, artichokes can dry out and toughen in the oven, so we covered them to let them steam and tenderize in their own juice. The fresh tang of citrus pairs well with artichokes’ earthy flavor, so we roasted some halved lemons alongside the artichokes and used the deeply flavorful juice in a vinaigrette.

 We whisked the juice with garlic and Dijon before drizzling in and emulsifying some olive oil to create a bright, intense dressing. If your artichokes are larger than 8 to 10 ounces, strip away another layer or two of the toughest outer leaves. A rasp-style grater makes quick work of turning the garlic into a paste. Serve these either warm or at room temperature.
3 lemons
4 artichokes (8 to 10 ounces each)
9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1 small garlic clove, minced to paste
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Cut 1 lemon in half, squeeze halves into container filled with 2 quarts water, then add spent halves. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, trim stem to about ¾ inch and cut off top quarter of artichoke.

Break off bottom 3 or 4 rows of tough outer leaves by pulling them downward. Using kitchen shears, trim off top portion of outer leaves. Using paring knife, trim outer layer of stem and base, removing any dark green parts. Cut artichoke in half lengthwise, then remove fuzzy choke and any tiny inner purple-tinged leaves using small spoon. Submerge prepped artichokes in lemon water.

2. Coat bottom of 13 by 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil. Remove artichokes from lemon water, shaking off excess water. Toss artichokes with 2 tablespoons oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pinch pepper; gently rub oil and seasonings between leaves.

Arrange artichokes cut side down in prepared dish. Trim ends of remaining 2 lemons, halve crosswise, and arrange cut side up next to artichokes in dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast until cut sides of artichokes begin to brown and bases and leaves are tender when poked with tip of paring knife, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Transfer artichokes to serving platter. Let lemons cool slightly, then squeeze into fine-mesh strainer set over bowl, extracting as much juice and pulp as possible; press firmly on solids to yield 1½ tablespoons juice. Whisk parsley, garlic, mustard, and ½ teaspoon salt into juice. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in remaining 6 tablespoons oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve artichokes with dressing.

ROMAN-STYLE STUFFED BRAISED ARTICHOKES

Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS For this traditional Italian dish, we wanted a bright, robust stuffing, which we achieved with a blend of minced fresh parsley and mint, garlic, lemon zest, and bread crumbs moistened with extra-virgin olive oil. The stuffing infused the artichokes with flavor as they braised. Cooking the artichokes took little more than half an hour in a large Dutch oven filled with just enough water to cover the stems three-quarters of the way. (Any more liquid made for sodden stems and a gummy filling.) To prevent the uncooked filling from spilling out, we placed each artichoke stem end down into a thickly cut onion ring. For even cooking, we then rotated the artichokes at the midway point so that the stem ends were facing up. Serve each artichoke with a spoon so that diners can coax out the stuffing. If your artichokes are larger than 8 to 10 ounces, strip away another layer or two of the toughest outer leaves.
1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, crust removed, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 lemon
4 artichokes (8 to 10 ounces each)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup minced fresh parsley, stems reserved
¼ cup minced fresh mint
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1 onion, cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices and separated into rings
1. Pulse bread in food processor to fine crumbs, about 10 pulses; transfer to medium bowl. Grate 1 tablespoon zest from lemon and add to bowl; set aside. Cut lemon in half, squeeze halves into container filled with 2 quarts water, then add spent halves.
2. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, trim end of stem and cut off top quarter of artichoke. Break off tough outer leaves by pulling them downward until only light-colored core remains. Using kitchen shears, trim off top portion of outer leaves. Using paring knife, trim stem and base, removing any dark green parts. Spread leaves to reveal fuzzy choke at center. Using spoon, remove fuzzy choke. Rinse artichoke well, then submerge prepped artichoke in lemon water.
3. Add oil, parsley leaves, mint, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt to bowl with bread crumbs and stir until well combined; season with pepper to taste. Using small spoon, divide filling evenly among artichokes, placing it in center of artichoke, where choke was.
4. Spread onion rings evenly over bottom of Dutch oven. Sprinkle reserved parsley stems and ¼ teaspoon salt over onion rings. Set artichokes stem ends down into onion rings. Fill pot with enough cold water so that stems are three-quarters submerged.
5. Cover and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Using tongs, rotate artichokes so stem ends face up, using tongs to keep filling in place. Cover and cook until tip of paring knife is easily inserted into artichoke heart, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer artichokes to serving platter. Serve.
BRAISED ARTICHOKES WITH TOMATOES AND THYME
Serves 4
Total time: 55 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Gently braising artichokes and creating a flavorful sauce at the same time keeps the focus on the flavor of these seasonal gems. We used white wine and chicken broth to impart acidity and depth of flavor. Subtle thyme complemented the artichokes’ delicate flavor, and anchovies amplified the savory qualities. Canned tomatoes are common in braises, but tasters detected an unpleasant metallic note; replacing them with halved cherry tomatoes at the end of cooking preserved the brightness of the sauce and added welcome splashes of color. If your artichokes are larger than 8 to 10 ounces, strip away another layer or two of the toughest outer leaves.
1 lemon, halved
4 artichokes (8 to 10 ounces each)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
6 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Squeeze lemon halves into container filled with 2 quarts water, then add spent halves. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, trim stem to about ¾ inch and cut off top quarter of artichoke. Break off bottom 3 or 4 rows of tough outer leaves by pulling them downward. Using kitchen shears, trim off top portion of outer leaves. Using paring knife, trim stem and base, removing any dark green parts. Cut artichoke in half lengthwise, then remove fuzzy choke and any tiny inner purple-tinged leaves using small spoon. Cut each half into 1-inch-thick wedges and submerge wedges in lemon water.
2. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, anchovies, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine and cook until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in broth and bring to simmer.
3. Remove artichokes from lemon water, shaking off excess water, and add to skillet. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until artichokes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Stir in tomatoes, bring to simmer, and cook until tomatoes start to break down, 3 to 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
SLOW-COOKER BRAISED ARTICHOKES WITH GARLIC BUTTER
Serves 4
Total time: 8 to 9 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS A slow cooker makes impressive whole braised artichokes accessible. We simply trimmed the artichokes and placed them upright in the slow cooker (5 to 7 quarts) with a little water. Tossing them with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil beforehand helped to preserve their color. For a simple yet boldly flavored dipping sauce, we melted butter with more lemon juice and some minced garlic. If your artichokes are larger than 8 to 10 ounces, strip away another layer or two of the toughest outer leaves. These artichokes are delicious warm or at room temperature.
4 artichokes (8 to 10 ounces each)
¼ cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
1. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, cut off stem at base so artichoke sits upright, then cut off top quarter of artichoke. Using kitchen shears, trim off top portion of outer leaves. Toss artichokes with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and oil in bowl, then place right side up in slow cooker. Add ½ cup water, cover, and cook until outer leaves of artichokes pull away easily and tip of paring knife inserted into base meets no resistance, 8 to 9 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high.
2. Microwave remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, butter, garlic, and salt in bowl until butter is melted. Whisk butter mixture to combine, then divide evenly among 4 serving bowls. Remove artichokes from slow cooker, letting any excess cooking liquid drain back into insert, and place artichokes in bowls with butter. Serve.
GRILLED ARTICHOKES WITH LEMON BUTTER
Serves 4
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Grilling artichokes is a fun alternative preparation, bringing a bit of smoky char and enhancing their nutty flavor. Parboiling them in a broth with lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and salt ensured that they were completely tender and thoroughly seasoned. Tossing in extra-virgin olive oil before grilling helped develop the flavorful char marks on the grill. A simple blend of lemon zest and juice, garlic, and butter came together easily in the microwave and was perfect for dipping or drizzling. If your artichokes are larger than 8 to 10 ounces, strip away another layer or two of the toughest outer leaves.
Salt and pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 lemons
4 artichokes (8 to 10 ounces each)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced to paste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Combine 3 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt, and pepper flakes in Dutch oven. Cut 1 lemon in half; squeeze juice into pot, then add spent halves. Bring to boil over high heat.
2. Meanwhile, working with 1 artichoke at a time, trim end of stem and cut off top quarter of artichoke. Break off bottom 3 or 4 rows of tough outer leaves by pulling them downward. Using kitchen shears, trim off top portion of outer leaves. Using paring knife, trim stem and base, removing any dark green parts.
3. Add artichokes to pot with boiling water mixture, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until tip of paring knife inserted into base of artichoke meets no resistance, 25 to 28 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Meanwhile, grate 2 teaspoons zest from remaining lemon; combine with butter, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in bowl. Microwave at 50 percent power until butter is melted and bubbling and garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Squeeze 1½ tablespoons juice from zested lemon and stir into butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Place artichokes stem side up on prepared rack and let drain for 10 minutes. Cut artichokes in half lengthwise. Remove fuzzy choke and any tiny inner purple-tinged leaves using small spoon, leaving small cavity in center of each half.
6a. For a charcoal grill Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
6b. For a gas grill Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
7. Clean and oil cooking grate. Brush artichokes with oil. Place artichokes on grill and cook (covered if using gas) until lightly charred, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer artichokes to serving platter and tent with aluminum foil. Briefly rewarm lemon butter in microwave, if necessary, and serve with artichokes.
VEGETABLES REIMAGINED
GRILLED ARTICHOKES WITH LEMON BUTTER
Although artichokes are often braised or steamed, grilling artichokes imparts wonderfully smoky, nutty flavors. To achieve grilled artichokes that have appealing char marks on the outside and tender interiors, we jump-start the cooking process by parboiling them first. Then they become an easy side dish to finish on the grill with the rest of the meal.

1. Working with one artichoke at a time, trim the end of the stem and cut off the top quarter of the artichoke.

2. Break off the bottom three or four rows of tough outer leaves by pulling them downward. Using kitchen shears, trim off the top portion of the outer leaves.

3. Using a paring knife, trim the stem and base of the artichoke, removing any dark green parts.

4. Simmer the artichokes until the tip of a paring knife inserted into the base of an artichoke meets no resistance, 25 to 28 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise. Remove the fuzzy chokes and any tiny inner purple-tinged leaves using a small spoon, leaving a small cavity in the center of each artichoke half.

6. Brush the artichokes with oil. Place the artichokes on the grill and cook until lightly charred, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Serve with the lemon butter.

JEWISH-STYLE FRIED ARTICHOKES
Serves 4 to 6
Total time: 40 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS In this classic Roman recipe, baby artichokes are pared down to their tender core and delicate inner leaves, cooked in extra-virgin olive oil until crispy and browned, and then sprinkled with sea salt and served with lemon. The cooking method was the key to success. Dropping the prepped artichokes into hot oil produced scorched, bitter leaves, while starting them in cold oil resulted in uneven browning. So we landed on an approach in the middle. We started the artichokes in extra-virgin olive oil heated to a moderate 300 degrees until the hearts were just cooked through; we then removed them while we increased the heat to 325 degrees. The artichokes required just 1 to 2 minutes in the hotter oil to develop golden, supercrisp leaves. Baby artichokes are a must here; as their tender hearts cook quickly and their soft leaves become shatteringly crisp.
1 lemon, halved, plus lemon wedges for serving
2 pounds baby artichokes (2 to 4 ounces each)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Flake sea salt
1. Squeeze lemon halves into 4 cups cold water in large bowl; add spent halves. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, peel and trim stem to remove dark green layer, then cut off top quarter of artichoke. Break off tough outer leaves by pulling them downward until you reach delicate yellow leaves. Cut artichokes in half lengthwise and submerge in lemon water.
2. Line rimmed baking sheet with dish towel. Remove artichokes from lemon water, shaking off excess water, and transfer to prepared sheet; discard water and spent halves. Thoroughly pat artichokes dry and transfer to clean bowl.
3. Set wire rack in now-empty rimmed baking sheet and line with triple layer of paper towels. Add oil to large Dutch oven until it measures about 2 inches deep and heat over medium-high heat to 300 degrees. Carefully add artichokes to oil and cook until tender, pale green, and edges of leaves just begin to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer artichokes to prepared baking sheet.
4. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 325 degrees. Return artichokes to oil and cook until golden and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer artichokes to sheet. Season with salt to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.
ROASTED ARTICHOKE DIP
Serves 8 to 10
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS This retro party favorite is too often overwhelmed by excess mayonnaise or sour cream or the tinny flavor of canned artichokes. This version is an irresistible crowd-pleaser, loaded with distinct artichoke flavor under a golden, crispy crust. For a simple, freshened-up take that could easily be made ahead of time, we replaced canned artichokes with frozen, which have a cleaner flavor, and we roasted them to intensify their flavor. A combination of mayonnaise and cream cheese for our base gave the dip a creamy, rich texture, and sprinkling on a Parmesan–bread crumb topping made for a crunchy, savory finishing touch. We prefer frozen artichoke hearts for this recipe, and don’t recommend substituting jarred. Do not thaw the frozen artichoke hearts. This dip is best served warm. Serve with crackers or a thinly sliced baguette.
TOPPING
2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
DIP
18 ounces frozen artichoke hearts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
Pinch cayenne pepper
1. For the topping Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about 12 pulses. Toss bread crumbs with Parmesan and melted butter; set aside.
2. For the dip Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss artichokes with 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper on prepared sheet. Roast artichokes, stirring occasionally, until browned at edges, about 25 minutes. When cool enough to handle, chop artichokes coarse. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.
3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer onion mixture to large bowl.
4. Stir mayonnaise, cream cheese, Parmesan, lemon juice, thyme, and cayenne into onion mixture until well combined and smooth. Gently fold in artichokes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to 1-quart baking dish and smooth top. Sprinkle topping evenly over dip. (Dip can be covered tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
5. Bake dip until hot throughout and topping is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let dip cool for 5 minutes before serving.




MARINATED ARTICHOKES


Serves 6 to 8

Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Marinated artichokes have so many uses that they should be considered a pantry staple; they’re perfect for everything from topping pizzas to tossing into a salad or pasta to arranging on an antipasto platter. But store-bought versions tend to be mushy and bland—and expensive. We set out to make our own recipe for easy, inexpensive, and boldly flavorful marinated artichokes.

To get the best tender-yet-meaty texture and sweet, nutty flavor, we started with fresh baby artichokes, simmering them gently in olive oil with lemon zest, garlic, red pepper flakes, and thyme. Then they rested off the heat until perfectly fork-tender and infused with the aromatic marinade. We stirred fresh lemon juice, more zest, and minced garlic into the mixture before transferring the artichokes to a bowl and sprinkling them with fresh mint.

2 lemons
2½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
3 pounds baby artichokes (2 to 4 ounces each)
8 garlic cloves, peeled (6 smashed, 2 minced)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
1. Using vegetable peeler, remove three 2-inch strips zest from 1 lemon. Grate ½ teaspoon zest from second lemon and set aside. Halve and juice lemons to yield ¼ cup juice, reserving spent lemon halves and setting aside juice. Combine oil and lemon zest strips in large saucepan.
2. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, peel and trim stem to remove dark green layer, then cut off top quarter of artichoke. Break off tough outer leaves by pulling them downward until you reach delicate yellow leaves. Cut artichokes in half lengthwise (quarter if large). Rub each artichoke half with spent lemon half and place in saucepan.
3. Add smashed garlic, thyme sprigs, pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to saucepan and bring to rapid simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally to submerge all artichokes, until artichokes can be pierced with fork but are still firm, about 5 minutes. Off heat, let sit, covered, until artichokes are fork-tender and fully cooked, about 20 minutes.
4. Gently stir in ½ teaspoon reserved grated lemon zest, ¼ cup reserved lemon juice, and minced garlic. Transfer artichokes and oil to serving bowl and let cool to room temperature. Season with salt to taste and sprinkle with mint. Serve. (Artichokes and oil can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.)
BRUSCHETTA WITH ARTICHOKE HEARTS AND PARMESAN
Serves 8 to 10
Total time: 25 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS We wanted punchy, concentrated flavors for our artichoke bruschetta, a favorite hors d’oeuvre, so we turned to jarred artichoke hearts and sharp Parmesan cheese. We also wanted to be able to eat it without making a mess, so we pulsed some of the topping ingredients in a food processor until they formed a coarse paste. Spread on the toasted bread, it provided a stable anchor for the shaved Parmesan and drizzled oil. Toast the bread just before assembling the bruschetta. While we prefer the flavor and texture of jarred whole baby artichoke hearts in this recipe, you can substitute 6 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry, for the jarred.
1 (10 by 5-inch) loaf rustic bread, ends discarded, sliced crosswise into ¾-inch-thick pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled (1 whole, 1 minced)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
Salt and pepper
1 cup jarred whole baby artichoke hearts packed in water, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 ounces Parmesan cheese (1 ounce grated [½ cup], 1 ounce shaved)
1. Adjust oven rack 4 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Place bread on aluminum foil–lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil until bread is deep golden and toasted on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Lightly rub 1 side of each toast with whole garlic clove (you will not use all of garlic). Brush rubbed side with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt to taste.
2. Pulse artichoke hearts, basil, lemon juice, minced garlic, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in food processor until coarsely ground, about 6 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add grated Parmesan and pulse to combine, about 2 pulses. Spread artichoke mixture evenly over toasts and top with shaved Parmesan. Season with pepper and drizzle with extra oil to taste. Serve.
ARTICHOKE SOUP À LA BARIGOULE
Serves 4 to 6
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS This classic Provençal-style recipe uses easy jarred artichokes. We seared them to intensify their subtle taste. Cooking the mushrooms covered and then uncovered evaporated excess moisture before browning, and simmering the parsnips brought out their sweetness. Umami-rich anchovy fillets and garlic supplied depth, and leek contributed further sweetness and body. White wine and white wine vinegar brightened up the dish. A little cream brought it all together. We prefer jarred whole baby artichokes here, but you can substitute 18 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups jarred whole baby artichoke hearts packed in water, quartered, rinsed, and patted dry
12 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced ¼ inch thick, and washed thoroughly
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups vegetable broth
6 ounces parsnips, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, plus extra for seasoning Salt and pepper
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add artichokes and cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to cutting board, let cool slightly, then chop coarse. Set aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have released their liquid, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until mushrooms are dry, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in leek and remaining 1 tablespoon oil and cook until leek is softened and mushrooms are browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, anchovies, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute.
4. Slowly whisk in chicken broth and vegetable broth, smoothing out any lumps. Stir in artichokes, parsnips, and bay leaves and bring to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until parsnips are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Off heat, discard bay leaves. Stir in cream, tarragon, and vinegar. Season with salt, pepper, and extra vinegar to taste. Serve.
TAGLIATELLE WITH ARTICHOKES AND PARMESAN
Serves 4 to 6
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Artichokes and pasta come together in an elegant and ultraflavorful Italian-inspired dish. We trimmed the leaves from the hearts and then gave them a quick soak in water. Drying the hearts promoted deep, nutty browning. Garlic and oregano combined with white wine, olive oil, and Parmesan made a flavorful sauce. Parsley and lemon zest kept the pasta bright without overshadowing the artichoke flavor, and a simple bread-crumb and Parmesan topping gave the dish savory crunch.
TOPPING
2 slices hearty white sandwich bread
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
PASTA
4 cups jarred whole baby artichoke hearts packed in water
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
Salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup dry white wine
1 pound tagliatelle
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup), plus extra for serving
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
1½ teaspoons grated lemon zest

1. For the topping Pulse bread in food processor until finely ground, 10 to 15 pulses. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring constantly, until crumbs begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add Parmesan and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until crumbs are golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer crumbs to bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. For the pasta Cut leaves from artichoke hearts and place in bowl. Cut hearts in half and pat dry with paper towels. Cover artichoke leaves in bowl with water and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain well.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add artichoke hearts and ⅛ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until spotty brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in garlic, anchovies, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine and bring to simmer. Off heat, stir in artichoke leaves.

4. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1½ cups cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.

Add 1 cup reserved cooking water, artichoke mixture, Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and adjust consistency with remaining ½ cup reserved cooking water as needed. Serve, sprinkling individual portions with bread crumbs and extra Parmesan and drizzling with extra oil.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

DO CARBS cause you to FAT?

DO CARBS cause you to FAT?


Few things strike the maximum amount concern and build the maximum amount confusion as carbohydrates. area unit carbs bad? area unit carbs unhealthy? Do carbs cause you to fat? within the last decade, we’ve simply reworked from a society that feared fat, to at least one that's currently petrified of carbs. simply the opposite day i used to be within the store dissimulation to be an enormous deal author (yes, my new book is currently obtainable for purchase—you will choose it up here), and a lady started reproof ME concerning diet. She said, she knew all the tricks.

 “I apprehend that if I eat fewer calories I’ll reduce. however here’s the thing: If I eat some of slices of bread or some rice, i do know I’ll get fat. Isn’t that crazy.”

Well, yes. it's crazy. primarily as a result of it’s not correct. And yet, that’s what most of the people believe.

In order to assist restore some balance to the carb question, I reached bent on Nate Miyaki. Nate’s been engaged on the nutrition facet of the fitness world for quite ten years, and has been a useful resource for several of the articles I’ve written. 

IF you are INACTIVE, you simply have to be compelled to WORRY concerning PROVIDING CARBS TO FUEL YOUR BRAIN AND CENTRAL systema nervosum. IF you are ACTIVE, it is a completely different STORY.

He additionally happens to be versed in each the science of carbs, likewise as world application. That is, once you style programs and diets, do carbs extremely create folks fat?

To answer that question, I had Nate discuss the reality concerning one amongst my favorite carb sources—white rice. Here’s what he had to mention.  -AB

Do Carbs cause you to Fat?

Who would have thought my small very little morsel of goodness may cause such a lot difference.

I’m talking concerning my favorite food–rice, rice, baby.

Whether or not rice ought to be enclosed in a very health enhancing, fat dynamical, muscle building diet could be a extremely debated topic in our business. To some (such as sure followers of the Paleo movement), rice could be a demon food that ought to be avoided just like the plague.

Yet in some cultures that exhibit immaculate biomarkers of health and low blubber rates, it's been a dietary staple for hundreds of years. What gives?

I Ate five cups of rice last night for dinner. I’m additionally on the point of five-hitter body fat, therefore I will tell you what facet of the fence I’m on. i feel sugar, high levulose syrup, trans fats, and high polyunsaturated fatty acid vegetable oils do a lot of to cause hypoglycaemic agent resistance, diabetes, and blubber than my pal rice.

But most folks don’t need to offer up our beloved junk foods, therefore we've got responsible one thing. rice is as simple of a target as any. therefore so as to assist you establish whether or not carbs–or rice–should be a section of your diet, I’ve developed a straightforward three-step system to assist you work out your nutrition desires.

Step 1: does one would like Starchy Carbs?

A core drawback within the fitness business is attempting to fit everybody into one universal diet system. It simply doesn’t work that approach my friends.

Intense exercise changes the approach your body processes nutrients, and your internal physiological, metabolic, and secretion atmosphere for twenty-four to forty eight hours. meaning athletes and regular exercisers have terribly completely different dietary desires than inactive populations.

Beyond any scientific discussion, that’s extremely simply pure logic. that the opening move during this carb choice story is to assess what number carbohydrates you actually would like, and for what reasons.

A inactive one who doesn't exercise won't burn through muscle animal starch reserves (think of this as energy or carbohydrates), that area unit extremely solely used for top intensity muscular contractions (hence the name).

So inactive people don't have to be compelled to worry concerning replenishing these stores with the ADA-recommended sugar levels. In different words, if you don’t exercise your sugar desires area unit abundant less.

If you’re inactive, you actually solely have to be compelled to worry concerning providing adequate carbohydrates to fuel your brain and central systema nervosum at rest, that is primarily regulated by your liver animal starch stores (80-110g).

Could you go the super low carb route? in fact, that’s additionally associate choice. however if you are doing, remember that it would be related to ketogenic (low carb)-induced brain fog, grumpiness, depression, insomnia, and low androgenic hormone.

So what number Carbs ought to I Eat?

An effective low-carb, however non-ketogenic diet, may be accomplished with roughly one hundred to a hundred twenty five grams of carbs each day from unlimited, non-starchy vegetables and many items of whole fruit. No rice or starch is critical.

But here’s the key point: one hundred to a hundred twenty five grams of carbohydrates doesn't mean consumption no carbohydrates. It simply means your demands area unit less, and your carb sources area unit best reserved for fruits and veggies. are you able to eat different carb sources and keep inside that carb vary and still be healthy? in fact. however you may lose out on another nutritionary edges.

High sugar intakes, on the opposite hand, area unit a lot of acceptable for gymnasium rats and athletes that interact in intense muscle tearing, animal starch depleting coaching sessions.

When you exercise, your body undergoes the alternate depletion (through training) and repletion (through targeted starch intake) of muscle animal starch stores. that may take tons quite one hundred grams as a result of on the far side what supports the liver, your muscles will store concerning three hundred to 600 grams of carbohydrates.

If you drive your automotive around and empty the tank, you wish to fill it make a copy to stay it functioning properly. therefore in those cases, on the times that you just train, counting on your bodyweight and goals you may would like many hundred grams of carbohydrates to assist your body recover and grow.

Step 2: Why do you have to Eat Starchy Carbs?

By now, I hope you perceive that the sole reason you wish starch is for the only, sole purpose of getting the high-powered aldohexose molecules inside that food, that successively may be used to:

1. Fuel anaerobic activity (think weight lifting) via metastasis (the breakdown of carbohydrates). 

2. stock animal starch (carb stores) that has been depleted through exhausting coaching. 

3. Trigger associate anabolic (muscle-building) atmosphere that offsets, and hopefully exceeds, the initial catabolic stress brought on by intense coaching.

The ethical of the story is that for people that exercise, it’s the aldohexose chains in starchy carbs that actually matter, not all of the extra compounds that generally return at the side of them.

If you're consumption starchy carbs for the other reason than to get those aldohexose chains, i think you're consumption them for the incorrect reasons. That’s tons of fancy science speak, therefore here’s what you actually have to be compelled to apprehend. These area unit dangerous reasons to settle on sure carb sources:

I choose “x” carb as a result of it's high in macromolecule

Grain proteins area unit of inferior quality and bioavailability than animal proteins. you must be obtaining the bulk of your macromolecule desires from top quality animal sources.  Any macromolecule in grain foods is incidental, not necessary. the plain exception: If you follow a eater or vegetarian diet, this rule changes.

I choose “y” carb as a result of it's high in fiber

Fiber is priceless for overall health, however i think you're more happy obtaining the majority of your fiber, therefore to talk, from natural plant sources — like fruits and veggies — instead of synthetic cardboard — like fiber twigs and wood.

I choose “z” carb as a result of it's low glycemic

Chronic elevations in hypoglycaemic agent will positively be problematic, and might result in a bunch of diseases as well as polygenic disease and Man-Boob-itis. however short-run (acute) elevations below sure metabolic conditions may be extremely useful to the jock. hypoglycaemic agent transports amino acids and aldohexose into the vegetative cell to initiate the recovery method from coaching.

You should so opt for low glycemic fruits and vegetables the bulk of the time (and if inactive, all of the time). however the next glycemic food – American state I don’t apprehend, like rice – will work magic in a very targeted, post-workout recovery amount.

Step #3: opt for the proper

Starchy Carb supply
Here’s the important reason why carbs get such a foul reputation: Up to fifty % of the sugar intake within the typical yank diet is within the kind of high levulose syrup and sugar. This typically is the “control” cluster in most studies.

So once folks say carbs area unit dangerous, they’re typically simply talking concerning consumption many sugar. however that’s not extremely honest to each different food that is also labelled a sugar.

When compared to a typical yank diet, the low carb diet goes to appear just like the undisputed world champ. However, when put next to an honest carb-based diet that's low in sugar, refined foods, and protein (like the “Japanese Diet”), the results area unit terribly completely different.

In Japan, polygenic disease and blubber rates were ne'er larger than three % of the population pre-1991. If carbs generally were the enemy, with their high starch intake via rice and sweet potatoes, the japanese would be the fattest, most diabetic and unhealthy population on the world. However, this wasn't the case.

Condemning all carbs as evil and cutting them across the board, in spite of the kind or individual metabolic scenario, is associate clothed  approach.

Finding the proper Carb supply For You

Athletes and other people that exercise might enjoy the inclusion of some carbs into their diets, however it's important they create the proper selections in terms of sugar sort. you must opt for starches that offer anaerobic fuel while not all of the damaging venomous compounds.

The following foods may be consumed in your diet, however you may need to limit their consumption for varied reasons:

High levulose syrup and sweetener (one molecule of aldohexose and one molecule of fructose) will result in hypoglycaemic agent resistance, diabetes, and blubber.

Gluten-based starches (wheat, rye, barley) may be problematic as a result of protein could be a macromolecule that's associate matter or food sensitivity for several and might cause bloating, water retention, stubborn fat, and lethargy. (Remember, this is often as long as you have got associate hypersensitivity reaction or sensitivity to gluten; it's not universally evil or problematic.)
Beans and legumes area unit lectins that may cause GI distress, leaky gut syndrome, and might inhibit macromolecule digestion and aminoalkanoic acid absorption.
Most cereal grains contain the “anti-nutrient” phytic acid. This compound also can cause GI distress and inhibit mineral absorption.

In terms of carb sources that area unit universally healthy for folks, we’re not left with abundant. That’s why the japanese Village-style Diet works as a straightforward dietary example for active individuals: animal proteins, non-starchy vegetables, whole fruit, and starchy carbohydrates coming back preponderantly from root vegetables (yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes) and rice.
The rice story
Isn’t rice such a lot higher than white? Not essentially. Remember, it’s higher to receive your fiber from plant foods and not eighty seven servings of whole grains. rice is like most different cereal grains.

The “anti-nutrient” or phytic acid that's problematic for digestion and nutrient absorption is found within the bran of the grain. this is often removed within the edge method that basically changes rice to rice. it's one amongst the few exceptions wherever i think food purification is truly useful. once you take away the bran, what you’re left with is associate simply digestible, “safe starch” food with none venomous compounds.

How To Eat Carbs and keep Lean

Carbs don't seem to be evil.

While it’s true that lower carb diets offer several health edges and might facilitate with weight loss, low carb doesn't mean no carbs. once you’re coaching and travail, your desires for carbohydrates will increase. And if you’re attempting to achieve muscle, carbs area unit a vital a part of the equation.

What’s a lot of, for several folks, rice is, in fact, one amongst the most effective sugar sources as a result of it isn’t related to abdomen distress, allergies, bloating, and it’s not loaded with sugars that area unit joined to polygenic disease or blubber.