Ode to the almighty artichoke, a delicious edible plant from the thistle group of the Sunflower family. The artichoke has been a veggie of magic and allure for centuries. Ancient folklore suggests that a beautiful woman angered the gods and so she was turned into a thistle (leaves with prickles) as a result. In Rome, only men were allowed to eat artichokes because they were thought to increase their libidos. In Greece, the artichoke was attributed to being effective in securing the childbirth of boys.
Aside from the ancient beliefs, artichokes are nutritious, low in calories and fat free too. The delicate, clean flavor of the artichoke leaves your mouth kissably fresh. They are versatile and can be prepared numerous ways. Artichokes are added to dips, salads, pastas, pizzas, soups, burgers, and whipped up in just about any manner imaginable.
When poached, the artichoke is something to be savored. It’s petals can be pulled one by one and dipped into a lip smacking lemon butter sauce. Once the petals are all consumed, you have finally reached the tender heart of the artichoke, the juiciest part!
Artichoke hearts are found on almost every Valentine’s day menu, due to their long amorous history. Their flavor has a lasting finish and are wholesome. Artichokes have many attractive qualities as a food, and are loved by meat eaters, vegans, and vegetarians alike. Please incorporate artichokes into your diet if you haven’t done so already! 🙂
Here is a recipe for poached baby artichokes, courtesy of www.allrecipes.com
Poached baby artichokes
- ACTIVE: 30 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
- SERVINGS: 4
- 1 cup water
- 4 lemons, halved
- 12 baby artichokes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 2 sage leaves
- 4 bay leaves, preferably fresh
- Fine sea salt
- In a large, deep skillet, combine the water with the juice of 2 of the lemons; add the 4 lemons to the water in the skillet. Working with 1 baby artichoke at a time, snap off all of the dark green outer leaves. Using a sharp knife, slice off the top half of the leaves and peel and trim the stem. Drop the baby artichokes into the lemon-infused water.
- Add the 1 cup of olive oil and the white wine, onion, coriander seeds, peppercorns, thyme, rosemary, sage and bay leaves to the skillet. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the artichokes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Let the artichokes cool in the cooking liquid for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the artichokes to a work surface; discard the cooking liquid. Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise and arrange them on a platter. Drizzle the artichokes with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and serve warm or at room temperature.
The poached baby artichokes can be drained and refrigerated overnight. Let the artichokes return to room temperature before serving.