For weeks now Steve has been nagging me to take artichokes, I don’t know if I have been holding off because of the price hoping that it will become cheaper or the fact that it is a very tedious task, that requires a lot of hands. So this week they arrived the first 100kg. If you want to see chefs disappear, deliver 100kg of artichokes…..even the guy in pot wash runs. The trainee in the corner just hopes that you do not look his way.
We cannot deny that they are beautiful. Love them with olive oil, garlic and lemon. For me they have to be served cold and is essential as part of a mezze.
What went through the mind of the first person to eat an artichoke? How many leaves did he eat before he got to the heart, never mind the choke and the thorns.
100kg of artichoke will yield maybe 10kg of edible heart, and lower leaves. We do not get many varieties, we get ours from Porterville, from the Magic man’s back yard. Packed with goodness, and a list full of healthy facts. The leaves should be tightly compacted squeaky and should not be loose.
This is not a recipe on how to prepare artichoke hearts but rather how to enjoy the whole thing. This is less intimidating.
Cut away part of the stem leaving about a 1 cm, peel the stem and peel through to the smaller leaves, remove the smaller leaves at the base working up two rows. Then trim about 1 cm from the top leaves of the artichokes , this is where most of the thorns would be. Rinse under running cold water.
In a large pot, put in about two litres of water, ½ whole lemon sliced, bay leave, one -two garlic cloves, sea salt and crushed pepper. Add the artichokes. Bring to a boil and simmer. Cook for about 30 -35 minutes . The outer leaves should come off easily.
We often trim away most of the leaves for our recipes and preparations but this is where most of the fun lies when having a dinner party. Place cooked whole artichokes in the middle of the table, each leaf is pulled from the choke, with leaf in hand pull the inside of the leaf between your teeth. Have some handy dips available like aioli, and a simple vinaigrette made from lemon juice and olive oil. Continue until you get to the centre. Scoop out the choke(hairy bits) then eat the globe.
Be on the look out as we feature more dishes with artichoke on our menu this month

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