For the last meal of the week, we turn to our seafood meal. I decided to try something a little different this week; it’s always risky to be different with a seafood meal when cooking for a pre-teen, but I thought I would give it a shot anyway. Sean likes shrimp, but he’s never had artichokes and is not a big fan of olives, so we’ll have to see how this one goes. Tonight I am making Artichokes with Potatoes, Garlic, Olives and Shrimp. It’s a hearty, one pot meal, something we have made a lot of lately, but it struck me as something that looked good to try. If you can’t find fresh artichokes, you can use artichokes hearts instead.
Artichokes with Potatoes, Garlic, Olives and Shrimp
1 to 1/2 pounds fresh artichokes
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound waxy potatoes, peeled and cut, if necessary, into 1-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine, stock, or water
1 cup small black olives, pitted
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
Prepare the artichokes by trimming the stem, cutting off the pointed tips, removing the tough leaves and cutting in half; remove the choke if necessary. As each is finished, drop it into a bowl of cold water with about 10 percent vinegar or lemon juice.
Put 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain the artichokes and add them to the skillet, along with the potatoes. Cook until they’re glossy and beginning to soften; do not brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add the thyme and the liquid. Bring to a boil, cover and adjust the heat so the mixture just simmers. Cook just until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes, then uncover and raise the heat again. Stir in the remaining olive oil, olives, shrimp and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are pink, about 3 to 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then garnish with the parsley and serve hot or warm.
If you have never prepared whole artichokes before, it can be a little tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it it’s pretty easy. It’s really just a matter of getting rid any spiky tips and outer leaves and removing the furry, needlelike choke. You can steam the artichokes whole and eat the leaves one by one, scraping off the meat of each leaf using your front teeth. The closer you get to the center, the more tender the leaves, and the soft, inner leaves can be eaten whole. Just make sure to spoon out the choke before you eat the heart. Fresh tastes a lot better than canned or jarred, in my opinion, but if you are using the artichokes in a recipe, you can get away with using canned or jarred artichoke hearts.
Tomorrow is, of course, St. Patrick’s Day, and I have a great feast scheduled to cook. I’ll be posting my recipes for Corned Beef and Cabbage (I’ll be cooking it two ways),Boiled Potatoes, Colcannon, Grasshopper Pie, and of course, some Irish Coffee and Black and Tans. Check in tomorrow to check out the feast. Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!