Saturday, March 14, 2009

baby artichoke & fried egg tartine

OK - this is basically an egg sandwich. I have no problem admitting that. I like egg sandwiches. My sister, Anna, and I used to make them for lunch all the time when we were kids and our Mom was at work. Anna makes a mean fried egg over medium, too. For whatever reason, this is what I came up with when trying to figure out what to do with a basket of cute baby artichokes from the Farmers Market.

"Tartine" is what we left coast elites (and possibly the French?) call a fancy open-faced sandwich. I happened to look this up on Wikipedia to confirm, and I found this sweet quote, "Legally in the United States, the ruling in the case of Panera Bread Co. v. Qdoba Mexican Grill established that a true sandwich (from a legal perspective) must include at least two slices of bread. An open-faced sandwich does not satisfy this condition." So there. (I can't help put picture a sourdough loaf battling a tortilla when I read this.) Be sure to get a high quality loaf of whole grain bread that you can cut big (1+ inch) slices from. You will need a substantial foundation for everything that goes on top of the bread in this recipe. Also, you will probably need to eat this with a fork and knife.

Technically, the artichokes I bought at the market were tulip artichokes, also known as baby Eurochokes or Fiesoles - deep purple little things. Apparently, people use them in flower arrangements, too. I had to do some research to learn how to work with them. Fortunately, the California Artichoke Advisory Board has a very detailed website with pictures and instructions for cooking artichokes. This veggie is in season twice a year, in the spring and the fall, so it's worth getting to know. Soon I will try something with full-sized artichokes. In fact, the babies are just artichokes that grow lower down on the plant than the big guys, but the babies are a good training-wheels artichoke because they are easier to use and require less prep. They smelled amazingly buttery when I steamed them, which I did very quickly in the microwave in a Ziploc Zip 'n Steam bag. This was the first time I'd used the Ziploc steamer bags, and it worked well - shortcuts that make dinner happen faster are good because I'm always so hungry by the time I'm cooking. (Stupid hypoglycemia!) You can also steam them on the stovetop for about 15 minutes.

I had still had some asparagus in the fridge after making the last recipe I posted here, so I used that to add a nice crunch to this dish. With the spongy bread, creamy avocado and tangy vinegar...I'm getting hungry all over again just typing this up. Mike likes his eggs well done, which was no problem, but I intended my egg to be fried over-medium so the yolk could run into the bread...but, alas, I overcooked it just slightly. Next time it will be heavenly!


8-10 baby artichokes (tulip or other variety)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
5-6 asparagus spears, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp. tarragon (I didn't have fresh, so I used dried.)
1 1/2 Tbsps. fresh chives, chopped
1 tsp. butter (for the frying pan)
1-2 eggs per person
salt & pepper
1 thick slice whole grain bread per person
olive oil & balsamic vinegar for drizzling
1/2 avocado, sliced

1. Steam the whole artichokes, either in a microwave bag for 3 minutes or on the stove top for 15 minutes. Set the steamed artichokes on a cutting board and allow them to cool enough for handling.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the sliced mushrooms for a few minutes, then add the garlic.

3. Peel the outer leaves off of the artichokes until you get to the tender part of the vegetable. With the tulip artichokes, I found that the leaves with some yellow coloring were softer and more edible than the purplest ones. Discard the leaves you've peeled off. Slice the artichokes in half length-wise and cut off the tough purple tips.

4. Add the artichokes and chopped asparagus to the pan to saute with the mushrooms. Add the balsamic vinegar, some salt and pepper and the tarragon. Add the chives after a few minutes.

5. Melt the butter in a small frying pan. Crack the eggs into the pan. Be careful not to break the yolks if you want your eggs over medium! Shake some salt and pepper onto the eggs. Once the white part of the egg is set and is looking about 80% cooked, flip the eggs. For medium, count to 20 and remove the egg from the pan. For well done eggs, leave them in a little bit longer or break the yolk before flipping.

6. While the eggs are cooking, toast the bread. Place a slice on each plate, and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. When the eggs are ready, place them on the bread, then spoon the veggies on top and maybe place a few around the plate to make it pretty. Garnish with avocado slices and more chives.

Artichoke on Foodista

1 comment:

  1. I, too love egg sandwiches! I will definitely try this next time I am making one. :)