My mother exposed me to all types of vegetables and fruits growing up in Australia. I can remember going from house to house as a child eating plums, guava's, oranges, and blackberries. The smell of fruit always filled the air in our neighborhood. And while my mum introduced steamed, roasted, and offered raw veggies to me in my youth, it wasn't until I was much older that I fell in love with vegetables.
It was my mum's colorful array of fruits and veggies at every meal that got me hooked as a child, and I grew to love food and cooking. I love to try new dishes.
I remember when I first saw an artichoke. It looked more like a massive flower bud than a vegetable. I think I actually used it in a wildflower bouquet before I ever dared to cook it. But when I did, that little bite at the end of the artichoke became a favorite when serving something different at mealtime and parties.
Since then, I have steamed, baked, and roasted this mighty thistle. I've also created dips, added them to cold and hot pasta dishes, and even made a spicy artichoke paste for spreading on toast. Yep, toast!
Here are a few ways for you to try this interesting Mediterranean vegetable.
for 1 serving
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
½ cup parmesan cheese
Remove the stem of the artichoke. Cut about 1 inch (2 cm) off the top of the artichoke. Take a pair of kitchen scissors and snip off the thorns on the tip of the artichoke petals.
Take half a lemon and rub lemon juice over the cut portion of the artichoke to prevent it from browning. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Spread open the petals and rub minced garlic all over. Add the parsley and Parmesan; make sure to get it in between the petals. Top with more pepper if desired.
Wrap the artichoke in aluminum foil. Bake at 425°F (220°C) for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
When done, serve with extra parsley, lemon wedge, and your favorite dipping sauce.
Prepare artichokes for steaming: Snap off tough outer leaves. Using a serrated knife, cut off top 1/3 of artichoke. Snip remaining sharp or spiky tips using kitchen shears. Trim stem so artichoke stands upright. Rub cut surfaces with lemon to prevent discoloration. Repeat with remaining artichokes and lemon.
Set a steamer basket in a large pot; add enough water so it reaches just below the basket. Squeeze lemon juice into water and add 1 tablespoon salt; bring to a boil. Place artichokes in a steamer basket, stem-side up. Cover pot, and steam until the heart are tender when pierced with a tip of a paring knife, and inner leaves pull out easily 25 to 35 minutes; add more water to the pot, if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature with Easy Hollandaise or melted butter, if desired.
4 large whole artichokes, top 1 inch and stems removed
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Place artichokes stem-side down in a bowl and drizzle with lemon juice.
Slightly separate the artichoke leaves with your hands.
Insert a knife blade into the center of each artichoke to create a garlic clove-size space.
Drizzle each artichoke with olive oil.
Press 1 clove of garlic into the center of each artichoke and season with salt.
Tightly wrap each artichoke twice with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Place in a baking dish and bake in the preheated oven until sizzling, about 1 hour 20 minutes.