The Literate Chef

A Pre-Thanksgiving Meal

In General Articles on November 23, 2011 at 4:19 PM

With the annual gorge fest known as Thanksgiving coming up, we thought it would be a good idea to eat lightly last night. So off we went to the local fish market to see what was fresh. Fillet of Grey Sole looked good at $15.99 per pound, and with Tuesday being senior discount day, it looked even better at $14.39 per pound. Three fillets weighed in at just less than 1 pound.

Now that we had the main course, what would go well with it? Our daughter, who had arrived for Thanksgiving said ‘how about stuffed artichokes and a simple arugula salad?’ That sounded good to me, as each dish required very little work and even better, she volunteered to prepare the salad.

Stuffed artichokes were a mainstay of Dorothea’s repertoire. She never wrote down any recipes, so this could prove to be a challenge. But, having watched her prepare them a number of times, I thought that I was up to the challenge. I think Dorothea learned how to prepare them from my grandmother, as Big Mike had spoken about how, since they were so inexpensive, his mother used to make them at least once a week when he was a child. At $2.50 each, artichokes are somewhat expensive today, considering how little food you get from each.

Mike also used to say that artichokes were the only food that you wound up with more of, after they had been eaten. A bit of an exaggeration but not too much, as the leaves are not edible, just the underside of them, which is scraped off on your teeth along with the stuffing. And of course the artichoke heart, which is the best part, and which is the reward for peeling off the leaves.

As for the fish, I decided to make Fillet of Sole Francese, rather than breaded and fried, since the artichoke stuffing would contain plenty of breadcrumbs. So now with extra room in our stomachs, we are prepared for the all-day eating feast of Thanksgiving, and wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers.

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