Today on the Sonrise Morning Show Matt Swaim and I talked about artichokes.
Artichokes: Gen 3:18 “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.”
The artichoke is a domesticated variety of the wild cardoon (I grow cardoon in my Bible section of the herb garden). It looks very similar to an artichoke plant. The cardoon is mentioned as a garden plant in the 8th century BC
The artichoke is a member of the thistle family, so this vegetable fits right in with the Bible diet.
The tender leaf and young, undeveloped stalk were eaten, as well as the “head” which is what we only eat today.
When we were in Italy, whole baby artichokes were everywhere on menus. I especially liked them grilled. Now in Bible days, they were probably grilled over an open fire.
Artichokes have a lot of nutrition.
Yes! They contain protein, fiber, potassium, iron and calcium. Plus they contain more antioxidants than red wine and chocolate! In a study done by the United States Department of Agriculture, artichokes rank as the number one vegetable in antioxidant count.
Artichokes can be intimidating to cook.
Well, I have to admit that a lot of years went by before I would attempt to cook them, and yet they are so easy to prepare! But I will tell you that it’s hard to know how to eat them just by looking at them.
To cook, trim the little thorny tops off the leaves, then slice about an inch off the top of the artichoke and cut excess stem off. I like to cook them in water that has with some lemon and garlic and bay. Just make sure the artichoke stays under the water and you can do that by placing a saucer on top. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and cook until done – 30-45 minutes.
What about the “choke” that’s inside way down in the artichoke?It’s the inedible fuzzy part that covers the delicious artichoke heart. Just scrape that out, and cut up the heart and dip them into the sauce.
To make it easy, I’m sharing two favorite recipes using canned artichokes.
TRISET DE FONSEKA’S ARTICHOKE AND SPINACH CURRY
Triset is a friend, colleague, chef and cookbook author. Her Sri Lankan heritage just sparkles in this recipe. Ingredients
14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup onion, chopped – I like red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 thin slice fresh ginger, peeled, crushed and minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 cups coconut or soy milk
Lemon pepper to taste
3 cups fresh spinach
InstructionsIn nonstick pan, combine everything but spinach. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to medium, cover and cook 10 minutes. Uncover, add spinach and simmer until wilted, stirring occasionally. Serve with rice.\
GREEN BEAN ARTICHOKE SALAD WITH FETA
No real recipe, but here’s how I do it:
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and blanched**
Chopped red onions to taste – not too many
Chopped artichoke hearts – as many as you likePalmful fresh dill or dried dill leaves to taste – start with a couple of shakes
Zesty Italian dressing
Feta cheese for garnish
Blanch green beans in boiling salted water just until crisp tender, about 3-5 minutes max. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Can be done a day ahead.Then basically, add everything but dressing. Mix and then pour dressing over, to taste. Toss and chill a bit. Serve with a bit of feta on top.