Artichoke HeartsMarch 16th is National Artichoke Hearts Day. According to the California Artichoke Advisory Board, artichokes are a good source of antioxidants, vitamin C, folate and magnesium. The antioxidants in artichokes are very good for your liver and help promote healthy skin. Artichokes are also high in fiber, calcium and protein while low in calories. For all of these reasons, along with being fat free and cholesterol free, artichokes are truly a healthy and delicious food to celebrate! The total antioxidant capacity of an artichoke flower head is one of the highest reported for vegetables. The fleshy base of the artichoke is perhaps the most enjoyably edible part of this oddly-shaped vegetable. You can find artichoke hearts that are packed in vinegar, oil or marinade and canned. They make for a great low sodium snack and lend themselves well to other snacks like artichoke dip, as well as a pizza topping. Toss them in the skillet for a savory sauté. They might just turn into a healthy addiction! California is known as the artichoke capital of the world. They supply nearly 100% of North American fresh artichokes.
Chicken and Artichokes in Wine Sauce
Serves 4 2 cups artichoke hearts, frozen and thawed, or canned and drained 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1 pound 1-1/2 cups flour Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 2 cups dry yet mellow white wine, such as Chardonnay 1/2 lemon Flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, to garnish (optional) 1 . Cut the artichoke hearts in half lengthwise. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, about 1 inch to a side. In a medium bowl, mix the flour with about 1 teaspoon salt and a generous quantity of black pepper. Toss the chicken pieces in the flour. 2 . Set a large skillet (at least 12 inches wide) over medium-high heat. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the artichokes. Cook for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned on each side. Remove the artichokes from the skillet and transfer to a plate. Set aside. 3 . Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet along with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Lift the chicken pieces out of the flour and arrange in the skillet. Sauté the chicken pieces for 5 to 7 minutes or until well-browned on both sides. (For best flavor, look for a golden crust to develop, and make sure both sides are browned.) Add the browned artichokes back to the pan. 4 . Pour in the white wine and and stir and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer for 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat. The sauce will thicken. Stir well to coat everything with the wine sauce. Stir in a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice. 5 . Serve with pasta or couscous. Garnish, if desired, with finely chopped parsley.