Artichokes with a Mexican twist

March 21st, 2013

I could eat artichokes every day of my life.  In addition to being arguably my favorite vegetable, they also hold many fond food memories for me.  When I was growing up in Orange County, there were still many farms.  And each spring, in addition to strawberries, most of the farm stands also sold freshly picked artichokes.  My mom used to just simply boil them whole.  As a family, we would sit around the table, picking the leaves, dipping them in drawn butter, and scraping the tender bases off with our teeth.  My dad would claim the meaty hearts for himself.

Although not a commonly eaten vegetable in Mexico, I couldn’t live with myself if I let artichoke season pass by without putting them on the menu.  I have taken inspiration from a dish that is a traditional vegetable accompaniment to a meal in Mexico, potatoes and rajas (roasted Poblano chiles) stewed down with onions and garlic.  I have replaced the rajas with the tender inner parts of the artichoke, and flavored the dish with Serrano chiles and epazote, a strong herb similar in flavor to the Italian herb nepitella.  This side dish is currently coming with our wood-grilled ribeye steak, but can also be ordered on its own.