When I was in college I had the good fortune to be able to take SCUBA diving at Moss Beach Landing Marine Labs which is located at the mid-point of Monterey Bay, California. It was a great experience and has led to a lifetime of enjoyment exploring the many waters of the world. Aside from that though, more importantly it was in the heart of artichoke country. I was living in San Francisco at the time, so getting to my early morning Friday class meant driving down Thursday after my last class and spending the night in an old VW van I owned. The class itself usually got out at about three, so driving back I would always stop either in Castroville for Artichoke Fritters, or in Pescadero for Cream of Artichoke soup at Duarte’s. Imagine my thrill with I was looking through a recent issue of Saveur magazine and they had Duarte’s recipe for what turns out to be a very simple soup, but if you are an artichoke lover, completely tasting of artichokes. I hardly changed a thing (why mess with perfection) so follow the link to see the original.
Cream of Artichoke Soup (from Saveur)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 12-ounce packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and coarsely chopped
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- lemon wedges for serving
- In a Dutch oven or soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender and transparent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant; do not brown.
- Add the artichokes and cook until the artichokes have softened, about 5 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and cook until artichokes are very tender, about 15 minutes.
- Transfer, in batches, to a blender and blend until smooth. I don’t need to warn you to cover the top with a towel and hold the lid down tight do I?
- Return to the pot and add the cream. Simmer until reduced by one third, about 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with lemon wedges.