I've been working hard to try and eat only natural ingredients that are locally grown with the right attention as well as intention. I hit the foodie jackpot on all points when Frieda's Produce invited me and some fellow food bloggers to explore Baroda Farms in Lompoc to see the real deal up close and personal.
Steve Jordan is the artichoke maestro of Baroda and is quite literally creating new and different artichokes varietals around the clock. Over 500 to date!
He's been working with growers in France and Italy and has his own research facility, lab, greenhouse and of course hundreds of acres of these beautiful creatures growing across Central California.
From seedling to harvest, we were actually able to catch many parts of the artichoke lifecycle.
The sangria artichoke is a real show stopper with its deep burgundy leaves and more robust meaty taste.
The globe artichoke is one of the most commonly seen artichoke in stores and great to use for stuffing with its large, round exterior like my friend and fellow field trip participant did. You can see Valentina from Cooking on the Weekends' beautiful stuffed artichoke here. I saw the large artichoke and thought the heart would be perfect as a cup to cradle a poached egg with a simple tomato salsa, and it would look nice for a more sophisticated weekend brunch.
I should also mention that this thistle isn't just another pretty face, artichokes are rich in fiber, antioxidants and a good source of Vitamin C and folate.
Thanks to Judy from Two Broads Abroad for getting the choke field trip in motion, and to Frieda's and Baroda Farms for showing us all the wonderful goods. And did I mention that Steve Jordan is also an amazing photographer? He took the picture of us in the fields below. It's not possible to frown when you're standing in a beautiful field of artichokes.
This is the start of artichoke season and if you're in Southern California, get yourself to Ralph's or Gelson's to take home your own beautiful sangria artichoke from Baroda Farms, distributed exclusively by Frieda's Produce. If you need more info on how to clean, cut and prepare an artichoke, click here.
Sautéed Artichoke with Poached Egg and Tomato Salsa
- 1 large, fresh artichoke - globe or other of your choosing
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/4 cup diced white onion
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a medium pot with about 2-3" of water. Place a steamer basket inside and cover until the water comes to a boil.
- While the water is heating, cut the bottom of the artichoke as well as the top quarter. Remove any tough leaves and use scissors to trim the tips of the remaining leaves. Squeeze the lemon juice on the leaf tips and bottom.
- Once the water is boiling, drop the artichoke in the steamer basket and cover for about 30-40 minutes, or until a leaf is easily removed. Use tongs to remove the artichoke and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter in a skillet and add the onions, stirring until translucent. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, then incorporate the tomatoes, thyme and salt and pepper.
- Enjoy the outer leaves of the artichoke with melted butter and garlic. Discard the inner leaves and fuzz around the heart until it's a clean bowl shape.
- Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Take a spoon and swirl the water clockwise and while the water is still moving, carefully drop 2 eggs into the pot. Cook until the whites turn opaque, 2-3 minutes. Removed eggs with a slotted spoon.
- Place a spoonful of the tomato mixture with some cheese on each artichoke egg and then top with an egg and another layer of tomatoes and cheese. Garnish with more fresh thyme. Enjoy with a crusty bread.