The edible part of the artichoke is in fact the green part found in the flower bud. The almost bitter taste comes from the organic acid cynarin and is apparently an excellent stimulant to the liver and assist with lowering cholesterol levels.
Unlike most of us who are easily intimidated by the artichoke’s tough armour, Italian cooks are known to be the best at giving it justice in the kitchen. Under the tuscan sun, they are often served up braised, stuffed, deep-fried, shaved and in salads.
Cooking with artichokes doesn’t have to be as daunting as their appearance might suggest. My version is super simple and can be refrigerated to be used for antipasto, pasta, pizza or salads. Start fresh and choose artichokes that are plump and heavy with tightly closed leaves and a hard stem.
“When the outer leaves are removed from the artichoke there should be a definite squeak, indicating its freshness”
– Stephanie Alexander
- 8 artichokes
- 1 lemon juiced
- ½ lemon rind peeled
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pinch cumin seeds
- Remove the tough outer leaves until you reach the pale, tender inner leaves.
- Trim from the top to base by cutting down the length of the stem to remove the outside of the stalk.
- Cut in half or quarters lengthways. Discard any hairy, fibrous choke.
- Marinate overnight in juice, lemon peel, salt, garlic, bay leaf and cumin. Note: Artichokes discolor very quickly when exposed to air.
- Transfer into a pot with olive oil and slow braise for 30 mins on low heat or regularly turn them over until artichokes are perfectly tender.
- Eat as is or leave to cool and refrigerate in jar/container until required.
Save nature and don’t discard all those outer leaves closer to the stem because you can leave them to dry to make artichoke tea! – Cat