Artichokes are flower buds cut out just before blooming, no wonder why they look so much like a flower… There is about 140 varieties, from small purplish ones to big massive ones. In Spain, they grow all year long although there is a higher seasons which are spring and fall. In Spain, you’ll see them in many restaurants, cut simply in halfs and cooked directly on the grill or also fried. All good stuff, but the way my dad showed me when I was a kid stays my favorite. I simply vapor cook them and add a citrus butter sauce to it, to dip each leaf in, and then the “piece de consistence” the delicious and tender like butter heart.
Use every bit of your artichokes
To recycle all those leftovers of leaves and the tails you cut out at first, you can make a nice soup with it. Just add all the leftovers to a big pot, than add water to cover, cook 20 min then blend and pass through sieve, reduce it withsome aromatics like thym. Add maybe a little cream, broth of your choice and voilà! It’s a good way to recycle your artichokes leftovers.
Those vegetables are not so innocent, they are a big part of many stories throughout history… starting with a Aegean legend of the poor Cynara turned into an artichoke by Zeus, after he discovered his “lovely goddess” acting too human… The Greeks and Romans considered artichokes to be a delicacy and an aphrodisiac, also a way to secure for newborns to be boys… old times… The artichoke symbol is everywhere in history, even a popular ornament in architecture throughout the years.
So let’s do this mystical veggie!
Artichoke with Citrus-basil sauce
- As many artichokes you want
- 2 tbsp salty butter
- 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
- few leaves of fresh basil (or dried)
- black pepper, white preferably
- Cut the top 1/5 of the artichoke with a knife, and the bottom of the stalk
- Cut the tip of each remaining leaf (optional)
- Soak in water to get rid of the impurities
- Add a little olive oil or butter in the center
- In a bain-marie add the artichokes, heads up and cover
- Cook for 25-35 minutes depending on the size of your artichokes
- For the dip, melt the butter
- Add the lime juice, basil and pepper to the melted butter and mix
Voilà! Simply dip each leaf before gently scratching off the meat from the bottom of each leaf with your teeth. At the end, when you reach the fur part, simply use a small spoon to take it off the hairs and dip that delicious tender heart to finish on a high. Enjoy!