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Recipe Name: Artichoke Information Submitted by: Administrator
Source: Source Description:
Ethnicity: Last Modified: 2/22/2014
Base: Comments:
Preparation Time:
Number of Servings: 1

Text only
10/13 . Courtesy Mark Herron.
The Aussie recipes I've been posting are from "Raw Materials", a
column written by Meryl Constance for the Sydney Morning Herald. In
each column she zeros in on a particular foodstuff, tells a bit about
its uses and history and then presents recipes utilizing it. Nice
format. Since I really like the style and content of the food sections
that Mark sent over I'm posting her whole column on artichokes rather
than just the recipes so folks here can get a feel for it. Here's the
introductory material. The recipes follow in the next three posts.
Globe artichokes are among the most beautiful of vegetables - witness
their frequent appearance in still-life paintings. And for fineness
of flavour and texture, they rank alongside that other luxury
vegetable, asparagus. Yet fresh artichokes are greatly underused in
this country and many people are only acquainted with the inferior
tinned version, which is about as much like the real thing as tinned
asparagus is like fresh. Globe artichokes are in season now and well
worth seeking out. Besides their culinary virtues, they have
health-food status, being low in kilojoules (about 90 kJ per I 00 g)
and a source of various vitamins and minerals. At present, they cost
about 60c to 80c each, though Raw Materials recently saw some
magnificently fat specimens for $2 each in Leichhardt, where the
Italian community knows how to appreciate them. They are said to have
originated in Sicily and certainly they were developed into their
modern form by Italian growers. Botanically, globe artichokes are
thistle buds. Choose tightly furled artichokes which are as fat as
possible. They will keep for a few days in the fridge, lightly
wrapped in plastic, and even better if their stems are in water.
Before use, they should be soaked upside down in a sinkful of water to
remove any dirt or insect residents. Australians' underuse of
artichokes probably has a lot to do with lack of knowledge about how
to deal with them and a vague idea that it is a complex matter with
traps for the unwary. The trap, of course, is the aptly-named choke, a
hairy inedible portion lurking at the heart of the vegetable, at the
centre of the leaves and on top of the succulent base. Provided you
know not to try eating it, it's no problem. Another daunting factor
is the instruction, given in so many recipe books, to snip off the top
third of each leaf - fiddly and unnecessary (unless you chance across
the rare spinella variety, which is cone-shaped and has a little thorn
at the tip of each leaf). When artichokes are served whole, plainly
boiled and with a dipping sauce, as an entree, there is no need to
trim the leaves at all. In fact, to do so dims their beauty as an
object on the plate. The diner pulls away each leaf by the tip, dips
the base in the sauce and draws the base of the leaf through the teeth
to scrape off the meaty flesh there. Used leaves are piled to one side
until all have been detached. Then it is just a matter of removing the
choke with a spoon or knife, before enjoying the best part of all, the
base. The whole process is a little ritual. But many artichoke
recipes are less reverent and are designed to let the diner eat the
whole vegetable with no mucking about. For these, it's just a matter
of slicing off the whole top of the vegetable, leaving between a half
and two thirds. Discard a couple of layers of the tough outside
leaves and tidy up the base (leave as much as you can). If the
artichokes are to be halved or quartered, it is easy to see and remove
the choke. If they are to be served whole, pull and cut out the
innermost leaves and open out the centre so that you can scrape out
the fibrous white choke with a teaspoon. Cut surfaces of an artichoke
blacken very quickly, so immediately rub them with a lemon and drop
the artichoke pieces into water acidulated with lemon juice (or
vinegar at a pinch) until you are ready to deal with them. Don't cook
them in aluminium or they will go black immediately. From "Raw
Materials" by Meryl Constance, The Syndey Morning Herald, Posted by
Stephen Ceideberg; October 30 1992. File

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