About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Crisp-Fried Artichoke Wedges | Main | Gratin of Artichokes, Potatoes and Onions »

Gratin of Artichokes


Most of us went through the vegetable chapter and cooked ahead to take advantage of peak season. But, somehow, I missed the boat on my very first - artichokes. When I realized my oversight, we were already into late November. So I began searching for a suitable substitute for fresh and finally settled on a jar of baby artichoke hearts I found at Sam's Wholesale (of all places).


The brand name was unfamiliar to me, but it was preserved only in water, salt, and citric acid. In addition the company, Terra Verde, promotes its corporate responsibility and humanitarian efforts with an interesting, if somewhat self-congratulatory, story on the side of the jar. I decided to give them a try.


Of course I had to skip the instructions for boiling the artichokes and instead soaked them in several changes of icy water, then drained them on paper towels and patted very dry before slicing. Since I was serving this with Christmas dinner I quadrupled the recipe to serve 16.


After slicing each artichoke heart, I layered them in a buttered baking dish alternating with fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano and dots of butter. The top layer had an additional layer of cheese.


They baked on the top rack in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes until the cheese crusted a beautiful golden brown.


Even though this was a delicious side dish, and everyone said they enjoyed them very much, I could still tell that they were not made from fresh artichokes. Regardless of the extra effort to rinse and rinse again, you could still taste that slight tang of a "preserved" taste. This spring I'll make them again, from scratch.

Comments (1)

Marcella Hazan:

Butter and parmigiano, when used liberally, can mask a lot of defects, but they can't turn tinned vegetables into fresh. What surprises me is the difficulty you have if finding artichokes. There are a lot of them in the market, both the globes and the babies. If I can find them at Publix, not to mention Whole Foods, is it possible they are wholly absent from St. Louis?

Your finished dish looked pretty good, however, and I am sure it went over well with the guests.

Deborah responds:
There weren't any in our regular grocery stores (Schnucks & Dierbergs) There weren't any at my cherished Global Foods. I have to admit that since Whole Foods is pretty far from my house, I didn't try there. I probably would have found them if I had.

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