A couple of weeks ago, Top Chef's "Last Supper" Challenge got me thinking about my own final bites. Like most of the culinary luminaries on Top Chef, I found myself yearning for the simple foods of my childhood.
I know I would definitely eat an entire challah (I have a problem), warmed in the oven and dipped in jus from a roasted chicken (the actual chicken need not be present). I would love a matzo ball soup starter, maybe with half a hot pastrami sandwich on the side. Maybe some cold poached salmon with dill cream sauce? Spicy Moroccan lamb sausage? Jersey tomatoes? Back Bay Seafood baked crab cakes with cole slaw? There would be brownies, cheesecake and tiramisu for desert. And I would also include another Wolfe-Stabert family staple, one I relished on Tuesday: the steamed artichoke heart.
When I was young, we would often have steamed artichokes as a first course. The leaves are delish and fun to eat, but it's the tender heart, protected by it's fuzzy little overcoat that makes my eyes roll back with pleasure. I don't know if it's the work it takes to get there or the simple magic of the dense but sinewy heart's slow dance with melted butter, but I am fairly convinced that this is the perfect bite of food. You finally get to it, clean it, and then it's gone in an instant, only a memory.
All those fresh artichoke hearts have completely ruined me for the canned variety. They bear no resemblance to the green jewels of my youth. I don't even like them.
So, what would make it onto your final menu? Is there anywhere in town that serves fresh artichokes? Is nostalgia clouding my judgment or are these things really that good?