Ah Artichokes

The Globe Artichoke in my garden is growing like mad, prolifically bearing its amazing fruit.

stuffed-artichokes-melissa-flickr

Random facts about Artichokes

  • They are called Globe Artichokes, Cynara cardunculus to be exact
  • The edible part is a bud, an immature bloom
  • Much of it is tough and inedible
  • The base and immature florets are a delicacy

Where are they grown

  • They hail from the Mediterranean
  • Africa still uses a wild form widely
  • Top producers Egypt, Italy, Spain, Peru and Argentina
  • In the USA California produces nearly all artichokes

Selection

Artichokes should be about the size of a clenched fist and firm when squeezed. If they are spongy the florets may have turned to seed rendering them spiky and inedible. Select Artichokes that are fresh, no saggy bendy stems. Watch out for ones with too much purple.

Preparation

  • Set aside a large bowl of cold water with ice cubes in it and the juice of a lemon to prevent browning
  • Rinse the artichokes
  • Cut of the stem .5 cm to base
  • Dunk and store on the lemon water coating the entire fruit initially. They float!

Recipe Stuffed Artichokes

Ingredients

Cashews chopped, almond meal, a good quality cashew based cornet dip, fresh bread crumbs

I suggest basil, sun-dried tomato or spicy pumpkin

Method

Bring large pot 1/4 full of lightly salted water to the boil

Remove Artichokes from their ice bath and drain

Mix the dip, extra chopped cashews, almond meal  and breadcrumbs into a moist friable mix pushing it  firmly in between the petals 

Lower them gently into the pot packing them tightly so they remain upright. Submerge only the lower part of the Artichoke keeping the stuffing out of the water

Steam until very tender, up to an hour, re-topping water as necessary

Remove draining them and serve in a bowl

They can be eaten by pulling off the outer leaves and pulling the tip outward through closed teeth, Discarding the fibrous centre. The outer leaves have wonderful flavour. As you progress toward the centre the leaves become tender and the centre can be eaten in its entirety. Enjoy!

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