The poor, un-sexy globe artichoke

Globe artichokes are not sexy. They are not fashionable, and rather hard to find in Britain. Most people I know have never tried one.

Why is this? Does the name put people off, I wonder, with its suggestion of choking? Or is it its large, tight leaves and almost Jurassic appearance?

Whichever way, I think it is a real shame. Artichokes are delicious, nutricious and easy to prepare, and they should be a lot more prominent on people’s shopping lists.

Now just to be clear, I do NOT hold shares in any artichoke-growing conglomerate. I am not here to brainwash anyone into eating artichokes. To me, they are simply a taste of my childhood, and I think it would be nice if more people gave them a chance.

The best way to cook them is to steam them. So dig out your pressure cooker, and after just a few simple steps, you will be ready to enjoy this little treat.

Here’s how:

Snap off the stalk, and steam for around 22 min (slightly more if your artichoke is large)

Place in a shallow bowl, and pull out the tougher leaves around the
base.

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You are now ready to enjoy the first part: the leaves.

In a small bowl, mix some crème fraîche with a dash of lemon juice and a bit of salt and pepper. Pull a leaf out, dip the fleshy part into the cream, then put it in your mouth, and scrape with your teeth as you pull it out. (at this point I shall refer you back to the word “un-sexy” in this post’s title).
image

Keep doing this until you reach the central leaves, and have exhausted the fleshy ones.
image

Grab the leaves firmly in your hand, and hold the base of the artichoke in your other hand. Pull firmly apart, and you should be left with just the base, covered with thin, straw-like bristles.
image

Pull these out, they should come out easily.
image

You will be left with just the heart. With a small knife, trim any harder bits away from underneath.
image

Cut into chunks and eat with the rest of your cream dip.

6 Comments

Filed under Vegetables, Vegetarian

6 responses to “The poor, un-sexy globe artichoke

  1. Tony Marquis

    Hi. You are right. Not something I’ve encountered many times on a UK table at dinner.
    I think there may be some truth in your thoughts about people choking. It is amazing when I think back to what I heard my elders say as a child. They were supposed to be educated folks too.

    They are not one of my favourite things but I know many of my friends in the USA love them.

    They were available when I was younger in the UK but you really had to search them out. They are far more popular now and I find most of the larger supermarket chains have them in stock.

    Photos are very cool. Maybe I should get you to do some for me. lol

    • You are right about supermarkets. I am a champion of the small, local shop, but my greengrocer doesn’t stock them because of a lack of demand.
      My local Morrison’s however has just revamped the fruit & veg section, and now stocks artichokes, white asparagus, and other lesser-used veg.

  2. I love artichokes, but am not so good at cooking and deconstructing them myself. I usually buy the canned hearts. I know, I know, horrible. I try cooking them about once a year, they don’t turn out very well and I swear never to cook them again…until the next summer when I see them in the store.

    • If you have a pressure cooker, you could always have another go, they are very easy to cook this way.
      And for what it is worth, canned ones are not that bad, especially if cooked slowly in tomato sauce, so they lose the “tinny” taste.
      Thanks for reading! :-)

  3. I love artichokes! And just got a pressure cooker…will have to try them in there. Found your blog through The Green Study.

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