Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Double Take: Artichokes

Artichoke - green vegetable with scales reminescent of a dragon

My huge artichoke. Apparently they come in various sizes, this being on the larger end.

Though commonly mushed into a cheesy dip (possibly mingled with spinach to such an extent that the artichoke's actual flavor is difficult to distinguish), artichokes can be eaten in a non cheesy format. Don't freak. Just because its green and lacks a cheesy covering doesn't mean its not good. Artichokes are typically either boiled or steamed. They contain two main edible components 1) leaves 2) hearts. No no no. ...Don't be alarmed. They're vegetables after all. They don't have beating hearts. Its more like the idea of the heart of a tree. The central core of the artichoke. As for the leaves, you're not eating the whole pointy bit. Actually, you're eating a portion of the inside of the leaf. Let me show you.

Sample artichoke leaf
Place your teeth in the location indicated by the yellow lines and pull your teeth towards the base of the leaf
Above is my not-quite-perfect artichoke leaf from the inside view. You pluck the leaves individually from the artichoke. Looking at the inside you'll see a flat area (indicated on my drawing by dark green) and a slightly puffy pillow like area (light green on my drawing). On some leaves the light green area will be much smaller than others. Either way, the pillow portion contains a filling that you eat. Place your front teeth at the top of the pillow (where the yellow lines are) and rake them to the base of the pillow. Weird, eh?

In this case, Becky suggested cutting a bit off the  bottom until we could fit it in a steamer. From there, we steamed them for 45 minutes. We melted some butter (actually some leftover ghee) and sprinkled a bit of salt on the individual leaves when eating them. When I got tired of pulling leaves and slowly eating them, Becky pulled away the rest of the leaves to reveal the heart. Its kind of an olive green disc in the middle of a light green tough exterior. Becky had to do a little cutting to get to the disc. Although I didn't get a picture of this, Food Blogga did.  That's pretty much all there is to it. Even though it looks super complicated, its pretty simple. For a picture by picture view of how to eat an artichoke, Food Blogga has an excellent reference here.

My reaction:

Wow, its good. It takes a very long time to eat and at points it felt as slow as eating crab legs. I felt I was possibly spending more effort eating it than I was taking in calories from the food. It was good though. I would definitely do this again. I learned that for me, sharing an artichoke is probably a good idea. Also, I learned the leaves reheated really well in the microwave for lunch the next day. Enjoy!

Hungry for more artichokes? See Mels here!

1 comment:

  1. I love your diagrams! Though I have to admit, I find one artichoke rather filling. I took your advice and reheated mine in the microwave as well. It was great!