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Celebrating artichoke hearts

Cathie Campbell/For The Madera Tribune

Top a homemade pizza with lots of your favorite things, but please do add some artichoke hearts.


March 16 is National Artichoke Hearts Day. Artichoke hearts rank as one of my all-time favorite foods, so I was quick to jump on this particular national food day. I love them fresh and also the marinated ones in jars. Sometimes there are some good recipes that use the canned, water-pack type, but I admit those are not my first choice.

It’s amazing that we can enjoy artichokes as a culinary treat, given that they are thistles. I love the Globe variety of artichoke as those have great flavor and are meaty. If you like chokes as much as I do, it is my hope you find a recipe to try from the selection.

I also hope you are looking forward to spring. I am, although it means allergy season.

Baked artichoke hearts

No need to thaw first.

1 bag (12-oz.) frozen artichoke hearts (about 3 cups) 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Open bag of choke hearts and add the olive oil and lemon juice. Shake bag to coat the choke hearts, then add the seasoned salt and pepper.

  3. Place seasoned artichoke hearts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes, stirring several times during baking, until lightly brown.

  4. Remove from oven (artichoke hearts will crisp up further as they cool). Transfer to a plate and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Artichoke niblets

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law decades ago and am not sure where she got it.

2 jars (6-oz. each) marinated artichoke hearts 1 small onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 4 eggs 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (I use Italian seasoned ones) 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon each: oregano, pepper and hot pepper sauce 2 tablespoons minced parsley 1/2 pound shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (2 cups)

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Drain marinade from 1 jar of artichoke hearts into a skillet. Drain the other jar, discarding marinade or saving for another use. Chop all the artichoke hearts and set aside; add onion and garlic to skillet and saute until limp

  2. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with a fork; add crumbs, salt, oregano, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Stir in cheese, parsley, artichokes and onion mixture. Pour mixture into an 8 (or 9)-by-13-inch baking pan.

  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until set. Allow to cool, then cut into 1-inch squares. Serve cold or reheat in pan at 325 for 10 to 12 minutes. Note: Can use Egg Beaters in place of whole eggs, if desired.

Hot spinach and artichoke dip

You can use low-fat cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise if you want.

1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach 1 1/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts 6 ounces cream cheese 1/4 cup sour cream 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  1. Simmer spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender, then drain. Discard liquid.

  2. Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir in rest of ingredients and serve the dip hot.

Artichoke pizza

Use your favorite pizza dough recipe or even a pre-made crust. Also, use red sauce if you prefer.

1 ball of pizza dough 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 1 shallot, diced 2 garlic cloves (or more), minced or pressed 1 bag (6-oz.) fresh spinach or 1 bag (10-oz.) frozen spinach 1 can (14-oz.) artichoke hearts 2/3 cup ricotta cheese 8 ounces (2 cups) freshly grated mozzarella cheese 4 ounces (1 cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Drain artichokes and press with a paper towel to reduce some of the moisture. Roughly chop, pressing with a towel again, then place in a bowl. Add ricotta cheese.

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add shallots with a pinch of salt and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and spinach, tossing to coat and cooking until spinach is wilted. Transfer spinach mixture to the bowl with artichokes and ricotta, then add salt, pepper, 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Stir to combine.

  3. Roll or pat out pizza dough onto a pizza pan. Drizzle dough with remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil and brush to evenly coat. Sprinkle some of the mozzarella cheese over top of the dough, then spread spinach ricotta mixture evenly over top. Cover with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven, or until cheese is golden and bubbly and the dough is done.

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