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"I love artichokes, like, for real!" says Rach. "Today, we're working with the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and they sent over these beautiful artichokes because that's where nearly two-thirds of the world's artichokes are grown! These artichokes are from the town of Castroville, which is actually known as the 'Artichoke Capital of the World!'" Rach prepared them two ways: She stuffed the big ones with a simple tomato salad served alongside a lemon shallot vinaigrette and used the little ones, roasted, in a lemony pasta with herbs and toasted pistachios. YUM!
You can learn all about the new Monterey County Artichoke Trail, which features restaurants, farms and more, and plan a visit to the area at SeeMonterey.com/Artichokes.
For the artichokes, bring a pot of water to a boil or set up a steamer over 4 to 5 inches of boiling water with juice of halved lemon.
Trim the artichoke stems and thick outer leaves. Trim tops and rub the artichokes all over with juice of halved lemon as you work.
Cook artichokes in boiling water or steamer until tender and cool. Open leaves up and remove the purple tipped, sharp center leaves to expose the choke and the heart. Carefully scoop out the choke (I use a grapefruit spoon to do this). I find that removing the choke is far easier once the artichoke is cooked.
For the dressing dipper, combine the ingredients in a Mason jar and shake to emulsify.
For the tomato salad, combine the ingredients in a medium bowl.
Fill artichokes with the tomato salad and serve with ramekins of dressing dipper.