Ever come across foods that stymie you while imagining someone stumbling upon it and deciding that it was edible? Let’s start with A – Artichokes. Think of early humans tip-toeing through brambly fields, coming across the plants containing these stiff-leaves and vibrant flowers, then weighing the benefit of eating it.
If one tried to eat it raw, I imagine that it’d be really rough for our digestive systems. Each leaf boasts a sharp, or even spiky, tip warning you that there ain’t no food here to enjoy. Once picking and scraping the minimally substantial leaves – “He loves me, he loves me not” – one gets to the choke – aptly named for its thistly centerpiece. If you cndured the booby-trapped layers of the artichoke, and separate and discarded the thistle, then you get to the heart of gold.
Why do people eat the leaves? It’s all about DIPPING SAUCE! Who doesn’t love any excuse to dive up to your knuckles in garlic butter or a creamy hollandaise sauce? I don’t eat mayonnaise often, but throw in horseradish and I’m licking my fingers! Even better – stuffed Artichokes with breadcrumbs and cheese, or salami bits wedged in each leaf! My kids have so much fun eating them that they forget artichokes are a vegetable!
If you’re Asian, like me, spontaneous calculation occurs without warning. One rationalizes that the fiber of the leaves, coupled with the energy exerted to tear this thing to pieces, must burn more calories than are in the dipping sauces. Time wise, artichokes take longer, thereby yielding higher quantity dinner conversations with low risk of talking with one’s mouth full.
I prefer steamed artichokes. Take a pot big enough to hold artichokes and fill it with a few inches of water. Toss in some olive oil, lemon juice and garlic cloves – chopped or not. Meanwhile, cut the point off of each leaf. Put them in, bottoms up, and steam for about 30-45 minutes until leaves are tender. For the sauce, put in palm-size glop of mayo and horseradish to taste, stirring often, until it’s the spice level you prefer.
Please share your amazing artichoke recipes with me as I’m always looking for new ways to eat them.