Artichokes aren’t the most popular vegetable in the kitchen; why is that? Personally, I haven’t used it much because I lacked knowledge about what it was and how to cook with it. Aside from dips, I was pretty clueless about what it could be used for. I am here to help you liven up your meals with this impressive veggie.
What is an artichoke?
It is the bud of a thistle, a flower, if you will, that covers a fuzzy center (choke). This portion is tough in mature plants but more tender and edible in young artichokes. Below the flower is a meaty heart known to be very yummy.
When picking artichokes, look for those that feel heavy, are closed, have some frost burn, and leave that squeak. These are all signs of a fresh artichoke. The older it gets, the less flavor you will have. You want heavy ones because this means there is more water within the harvested portion. The older it is, the lighter it gets. While frost is damaging to most produce, a light frost can actually enhance the flavor of artichokes. The squeaking leaves and closed shape again go back to being a sign for a younger harvest.
How can you use an artichoke? You can always go for the classic dipping sauce, but if you want to use this veggie to its full potential, try some of the following ideas:
Sauteed baby artichokes
Braised baby artichokes
Side to Salmon
Baked with Chicken
Cooked into a cream sauce with pasta
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