The leaves, heart, bottom, and even stem of certain species, contrary to popular belief, are all good in artichokes. In addition to being very delicate and easy to taste, this amazing vegetable is excellent for the liver. Before reaching our tables, it was first used as a medicine.
If there is no longer a consensus in modern medicine on remedies based solely on artichokes, the vegetable remains a very good source of protein and an excellent source of antioxidants thanks to the presence of cynarin, a molecule that activates the gallbladder. toxins from the liver;
In the past, some virtues were attributed to him as an aphrodisiac.
Despite its uncertain origins, its history appears to be rooted around the Mediterranean. This particular perennial plant would, in fact, be a forced evolution of thistles by man. Queen Catherine de Medici would have brought it to France, making it a royal dish, highly prized by her descendants, particularly Louis XIV. In his garden at Versailles, the Sun King had counted as many as five varieties. During certain periods of history, the artichoke had certain virtues as an aphrodisiac, as our ancestors forbade women to eat it for these reasons.
Today, Italy is the largest producer in the world, far ahead of Egypt and Spain. In France, the largest crops of flower plants are grown in the west, with Camus de Bretagne – the most consumed – and in the southeast, where the Mediterranean climate favors the growth of Violet de Provence. This conical cultivar with green and purple leaves is also eaten raw when harvested early.
To choose an artichoke well, in addition to the absence of black spots, it is necessary to choose a vegetable with narrow leaves and a hard stem.
The season generally runs from June to September, but often thereafter, depending on temperatures, extends into November. Note that the sun plays a large role in the quality of the product, artichokes that have been severely exposed to ultraviolet rays tend to harbor a lot of straws, those famous bristles that decorate the bottom of the heart. To choose an artichoke well from the merchant, in addition to the absence of black spots, it is necessary to choose a vegetable with narrow leaves, a hard stem, and crunchy when broken. Also, be careful not to take a piece that is too large and too complicated to cook. It is also necessary to take care of its weight, this is a sign that there is something to eat inside. Once you’ve done that check, it’s time for the kitchen.
After leaves and hay, we hit rock bottom
We find the traditional artichoke in a casserole, which is peeled with a sheet of paper and then eaten with a vinaigrette. Many recipes exist in particular with the bottom of the artichoke, the so-called noble part that requires a certain peeling technique. To remove the tail, it is necessary to break it, not cut it. This gesture removes the fibers that are hidden there, in order to make everything more digestible. It must then be stripped with the knife before it reaches the hay, which is removed with a spoon. Finally, after you finish leveling the bottom with a knife, it is recommended to put it in a bowl of lemon water to avoid rapid oxidation.
With its sweet ingredients and subtle flavour, artichoke is a vegetable to suit all culinary experiments. It’s even better than Chef Anne-Sophie Pic, awarded 10 Michelin stars for her restaurants, for creating 10 recipes featuring vegetables.
Getting to the heart of the artichoke is no longer a daunting and complicated task… With this artichoke cutter it is easy to recover the precious commodity and remove the hay with the special spoon included in the package.
Difficulty: You know?
cooking time: hour
Ingredients for 4 people 4 Provence violet artichokes, 2 onions, 2 large carrots, 20 cl white wine, 1 cup water, 3 cloves garlic, 1 garni bouquet, olive oil, salt / pepper
- Prepare artichokes by removing the leaves and skin from the stem. Feel free to peel off the larger pieces over the latter. Cut the artichoke in half and remove the feed with a spoon.
- Peel the onions and carrots, then chop them well.
- In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then add the carrots and onions. After 5 minutes of stirring intermittently, add the artichokes, air-dried, and bouquet garni.
- When the carrots are cooked, remove the mixture with the white wine. Allow the liquid to boil slightly to break down the acidity of the wine, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add water with minced garlic cloves, then simmer for an hour.
This recipe can also be made with bacon bits and/or veal broth, to taste.