Even a week away from home-cooked meals made from farm fresh produce can send me into massive withdraws.
Chicago is a bit of a food desert.
I found Quartino, thanks to my Dad, who frequents Chicago often via his job, but that was about it. If I had had more time to explore and discover, I am sure the list would have been longer. But I didn't. And it wasn't.
After being in the brisk Midwest for a week, I was overjoyed to visit the Farmers' Market on Saturday. I received a warm homecoming from Tutti Frutti's baby artichokes, Jacob's frisee, and B.D.'s radicchio. I picked up a rack of goat from Jimenez Family Farm and some fresh oregano from Roots.
I gravitated towards whatever was vibrant, fresh, at it's peak. What would I make from all of these prime ingredients? Who knows. Per usual, I would work out those details later.
After rediscovering it in Chi-town, I really wanted to try something different with the frisee. And the artichokes - when they show up at the market, I get all excited and buy them up by the cart load.
So there I was, somewhere between crispy fried artichokes and citrus splashed frisee salad. Mike was firing up the grill for the rack of goat and I was in the kitchen, planning the rest of our meal. I was about to start prepping the 'chokes, when the idea hit me. Why not combine the two?
fried artichoke and blood orange frisee salad
6 small artichokes
1 tbsp butter, ghee or heat stable fat
1 medium head frisee
1 small head radicchio
3 blood oranges, 2 segmented, 1 juiced
shaved dry jack or pecorino cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
Tear the outer leaves off of the artichokes until you reach the light green inner leaves. Cut off the top inch and discard. All that should be left is the stem and tender inner leaves. Trim the stem and peel it. Slice the artichokes lengthwise.
Place artichokes face down in a pan and cover with 1/2 inch water. Steam over high heat for 3-5 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. Drain excess water and leave over heat until all moisture has evaporated. Add fat to the pan, lower heat to medium-high, and fry until golden on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Toss together the frisee and radicchio with orange segments, juice and olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Top with artichokes and shaved cheese.