What to do with canned artichokes–experimenting with frittata

I love artichokes, but despite the assurances from tv chefs and cookbooks that “it’s easy to prepare an artichoke once you have some practice” I’m still not there.  I have several jars of marinated artichokes and several cans of artichokes as well, but aside of putting these in salads or an antipasti plate, what can you do?  I’m not sure how to use them instead of fresh artichokes.  But I figured I could give a frittata a try.  I generally look up recipes rather than experimenting too much but I figured this was sufficiently low stakes to try my hand at making something up.  And it worked out pretty well–nothing to write up in Gourmet perhaps, but good enough for me!

I used a can of artichokes (there were about six hearts in there) and drained them.  I sauteed some garlic in olive oil and then added the artichokes.  I had sliced them in half and then broke them up more in the pan as they were so soft.  There was still a lot of water in the artichokes when I added them to the pan so I let that cook away.  I also added a tablespoon of dried tarragon.  I looked in Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone for herb suggestions–for each vegetable Deborah Madison lists herbs and spices for which it has an “affinity”, and I settled on the quantity by guesstimating based on the amount that was called for in other recipes with a similar amount of artichokes.  It seemed to be just right (and was fun to use tarragon which I don’t get to do so often!)  I added salt (a half teaspoon) and pepper and then 5 beaten eggs.  When the eggs set I put it in a 350 oven for 4-5 minutes and it was ready! 

Frittatas and tortillas españolas are basically the same thing, just Italian vs. Spanish.  I’ve tried tortilla española before but always had trouble near the end where you are to slide the (hot) tortilla onto a plate, then flip it over back into the skillet.  Between worrying about dropping the plate or tortilla and burning myself I’ve never made tortillas as much as I would have liked to–I think having a tortilla always ready to go in the fridge for a lunch or light dinner would be ideal.  I sort of vaguely knew frittatas were finished off in the oven but had never really made it before, and now I realize this method could help me overcome my fear of making tortilla!  (Of course, there’s a million other opinions on how to make tortilla española so there’s still plenty to figure out in that regard).

Next time I think I should use more eggs, and also add the salt and pepper to the eggs–it seemed like the salt didn’t really get distributed around the pan–some bites were quite salty and others more bland, so that may require some tinkering.  It also wasn’t as filling as I had hoped (hence the lack of pictures), but considering it took about 10 minutes, I’m not complaining.  While it would take more time, I could try adding potatoes next time to make it more filling, borrowing from, what else, tortilla española!


2 thoughts on “What to do with canned artichokes–experimenting with frittata

  1. Sara, canned artichokes are very good on a white pizza. Sprinkle a little olive oil on a pizza crust (boboli, or unbaked — it really doesn’t matter). Then spread some pesto over the crust, and distribute a can of quartered artichokes (well-drained), sliced red or green sweet peppers, Greek olives (halved), a medium-sized red onion (cut in eighths, and then separate each chunk into two or three pieces – leave ’em a little chunky), slivers of garlic, and torn basil. Strew some crumbled goat cheese and perhaps a little grated Asiago or Parmesan – not too much cheese. Maybe a few more drops of olive oil … or not. Bake in a manner appropriate to the crust.

    I haven’t experimented a lot with cooking fresh artichokes. Have done the standard steamed artichoke with lemon butter a few times. It’s fun for kids to eat – scraping the flesh off the leaves with their teeth seems almost wicked to kids!

    But I mostly end up using canned or marinated artichokes. Use the marinade in a salad dressing (cut with lemon juice) — this is especially good in a pasta salad done with Greek ingredients. Frozen artichoke hearts are also good, and easy to use.

    Your frittata experiment sounds like a success. There are so many ways to do a frittata. It’s quick to put together, and easy to keep it healthy.

    It’s a joy to read about your experiences in the kitchen. Hope you and Karen and Marie keep it up!

    • I just made pizza tonight (Mark Bittman’pizza dough recipe) so I had to laugh when you mentioned artichokes on pizza. Will keep it in mind. A lot of recipes suggest using frozen artichokes instead of fresh but I have yet to see them anywhere.

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