No vegetable shouts Spring to me more than the Globe Artichoke. Flower like, yet a vegetable, they are at their peak in Spring. Although they may appear daunting to prepare at first the process is in fact quite simple. If you prepare a batch at a time they will keep for a week in their finished poaching broth and have multiple uses such as part of a crudité plate, with pasta, in sandwiches or lightly grilled with a topping of breadcrumbs mixed with melted unsalted butter, breadcrumbs and grated parmesan.
Globe artichokes should be eaten young and fresh before the outer petals/ leaves (Bracts) become loose and tough. Select Globe Artichokes which have tightly packed Bracts and which are heavy. The smaller the Globe Artichoke the more tender the leaves however they have less heart than the larger ones.
It is useful to wear gloves when preparing Globe Artichokes as their uncooked bitter juices can taint your hands and impart unpleasant flavours to other foods that you may be handling.
A great vegetable to pickle to prolong the delights of the season however I usually just braise in a stock (Barigole of artichokes) and eat within a few days.
Image credit: Lani Tupu
Poached Globe Artichokes
- Large stainless steel pot
- Pairing knife or peeler
- Food handling gloves
- Baking paper
- 1 kg Trimmed Globe Artichokes
- 1 lemon cut in half
- 500 gms white onions peeled and sliced
- 50 mls extra virgin olive oil
- 1 head garlic split in half
- 3 bay leaves fresh
- 0.5 bunch thyme fresh
- 10 black peppercorns
- 250 mls verjuice or dry white wine
- 250 mls chicken or vegetable stock
- Preparing the Globe Artichokes. Fill a bowl with cold water and squeeze the lemon juice into the water and then add the remaining lemon pieces.You will rub each artichoke as you prepare it with a piece of lemon to further prevent oxidisation before adding the artichokes to the bowl of water.
- Start by cutting off the excess stem leaving approximately 6cm. Treat them as you would an asparagus just removing the part where it becomes woody.
- Then peel off the outer petals, the Bracts until you reach the tender inner core of the artichoke.These outer Bracts if thick and fleshy, can be kept and cooked separately in the same poaching broth but for a shorter time until the flesh is tender. About 5 – 10 minutes. They are delicious dipped in a garlic mayonnaise and then you just suck out the flesh.
- Using a pairing knife or a peeler cut back the tough outer of the stem. If the tips of the artichoke look a bit tough just lie the artichoke down and cut the top off. Cut the artichokes in half lengthways and using a teaspoon gently scoop out the furry choke at the centre of the heart and discard.Rub the artichoke pieces with the lemon and add to your lemon cold water bath.