Globe artichoke, also known as French artichoke and green artichoke in the United States, is a variety of species of thistle grown for food. The edible part of the plant is the flower buds before the flower opens. A budding artichoke flower is a group of many small budding flowers such as an inflorescence, together with many bracts, on an edible base.
If you haven’t eaten artichokes ever in your life, then encountering them for the first time might seem a little intimidating. Also, if you are cooking artichokes for the first time, then remember that you need to prepare them before cooking. You can boil, steam, roast, grill the fresh or frozen artichokes for trying the best recipes of artichoke hearts.
What Is Artichoke Heart?
The artichoke is the immature flower bud of a thistle. It is eaten as a vegetable and classified as a culinarily. The plant belongs to the aster family. Artichoke is not an easy vegetable to prepare because you have to work a little to get the edible parts. The outer leaves, also known as bracts of the bud, have thorns at the ends. The leaf base is edible and the innermost leaves are tender enough to eat.
Under the leaves, you will find a choke that is a hairy center, at the top of the heart, and then the stem. The heart is the meatiest part of an artichoke. Also, the middle part of the stem is edible. Choke is not edible but you can eat it if it is a baby artichoke.
Artichoke is native to the Mediterranean region. It is considered one of the oldest foods in the world, even appearing in Greek mythology. Today, it is available in the United States and grows primarily in California with over 80% of the national harvest coming from Castroville, a World Artichoke Center.
Artichoke is now available in various varieties such as thornless artichokes are now available in the market. Crops from Spain, Italy, and France supply artichoke to the rest of the world. To your surprise, it is not the cheapest vegetable in the market.
How To Choose Artichokes?
When buying artichokes, some basic guidelines can help you to choose the best artichoke in the market.
- Artichoke That Feels Heavy: When picked, the artichoke should feel heavy. It is because you will get the meatiest artichoke heart. If it is light in weight, then it is probably dry and not as meaty as the heavy one.
- Squeak Sound: When you squeeze the artichoke, the leaves should creak or squeak. It tells you the freshness of the artichoke heart.
- Closed Leaves: The leaves should be closed with a small gap and not scratched. Remember that an artichoke is a flower bud, so the leaves open as it ages. If the leaves are wide-open, it means that artichoke will be old, stale, or even dry.
- Frost Kissed: If an artichoke appears to have been frozen, don’t worry. The less-than-beautiful artichokes can taste even better than those unaffected by the frost. Also, frozen artichokes are more expensive than fresh artichokes.
Best Artichoke Heart Recipes
Baked Stuffed Artichokes
- White Bread – 6 Slices
- Lemon Zest – 1 Tsp
- Parmesan Cheese – 1/2 Cup, Grated
- Garlic – 8 Cloves, Divided
- Parsley – 1/2 Cup, Chopped
- Oregano – 1 Tsp Fresh, Minced
- Olive Oil – 1/2 Cup Plus 2 Tbsp, Extra Virgin, Divided
- Black Pepper – 1/8 Tsp Black Pepper
- Artichokes – 2 Large Globes
- Lemon – 4 Slices, Divided
- Bay Leaf – 1
- Salt – For Taste
- Make fresh breadcrumbs by cutting the crust from slices of bread. Chop the center and put them into a food processor. Pulse until coarse crumbs are formed. Make 3 cups of breadcrumbs.
- In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, minced garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, oregano, parsley, black pepper, and olive oil. Keep it aside for later use.
- Cut the stem of artichokes and leave 1/2 inch of the bottom rows of the leaves. Use a kitchen shear and cut 1/2 inch of the tips of artichoke leaves. Now cut 1 inch off the top of the artichoke. Take a wedge of the lemon and rub it over the cut edges of the artichokes. It prevents them from browning.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and stuff the artichokes. Use fingers to gently open the center leaves of the artichokes. Take out the tender yellow artichoke leaves. Now use a small metal spoon to scrape out the inner fuzzy strangulation.
- Put artichokes on the baking sheet and start stuffing the mixture in the artichoke. Put a little stuffing mix between each large leaf and the artichoke. Put about 1 inch of boiling water in the bottom of a Dutch oven. It will comfortably hold the artichokes. Now add 2 slices of lemon, the remaining 2 cloves of garlic, and a bay leaf to the water.
- Place the artichokes upright in the water. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover the pan tightly with a lid.
- At 375°F, bake the artichokes for 1 hour. Also, keep checking if the knife penetrates the heart of the artichoke or the outer petals can be easily removed.
- Remove the lid and bake for a minute so that the top of the filling turns slightly brown.
- Place the artichokes on a serving platter and add salt and parmesan cheese for taste and garnishing.
- Rosemary – 1 Tbsp, Freshly Chopped
- Oregano – 1 Tbsp, Freshly Chopped
- Thyme – 1 Tbsp, Freshly Chopped
- Olive Oil – 1/3 Cup, Extra Virgin
- Garlic – 2 Cloves, Cut in Half (Not Peeled)
- Bay Leaf – 1
- Lemon – 1, Cut into Wedges
- Artichokes – 2 To 4, Large Globes
- Chop or cut the fresh herbs and place them in a small bowl, except for bay leaves. Cover them with olive oil. Microwave them for 30 seconds on high heat. Now let the herbs soak in the hot olive oil.
- Meanwhile, prepare the artichokes in a large saucepan with an inch of water at the bottom. Add bay leaf and minced garlic cloves. Now place a steamer rack in the pot.
- Snip away the pointy ends of the artichoke leaves. Rub the freshly cut pointy ends of artichoke with lemon juice to prevent the artichokes from turning brown from oxidation.
- Cut the thick outer layer of the artichoke stems with a vegetable peeler. Now cut the stems to 2 inches from the base of the artichoke. Discard the top 1/2 inch of the artichokes by cutting them.
- Cut artichokes in half and use a metal spoon to remove the hairy chokes and small inner leaves of the artichoke. Again, rub the lemon juice over the inside and exposed areas of the artichoke.
- Heat the water in a large saucepan with a steam rack over high heat. When it begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium-high. Place the artichoke halves cut side down on the steam rack.
- Steam the artichokes for 20 minutes until you can easily remove the outer leaves or the knife can pierce through the artichoke heart.
- Prepare the grill for direct heat and use a pastry brush to brush the herb-infused oil over the artichokes.
- Place the artichokes on the grill grates with the cut side down. Grill for 5 to 10 minutes until the artichokes get a nice grill mark on the cut sides.
- Drizzle the lemon juice on the cut sides of the artichoke. Serve them with aioli, remoulade, or mayonnaise.
Pasta with Ricotta, Artichokes, and Spinach
- Olive Oil – 3 Tbsp, Divided
- Breadcrumbs – 3/4 Cup
- Almonds – 1/4 Coarsely Chopped, Toasted
- Salt – 1/2 Tsp, Divided
- Medium Shaped Pasta – 3/4 Pound
- Garlic – 1 Clove
- Artichoke Hearts – 12-Ounce
- Baby Spinach – 3 Ounces
- Lemon Zest – 2 Tsp, Finely Grated
- Parmesan – 1/3 Cup, Grated
- Lemon Juice – 2 Tbsp
- Ricotta Cheese – 3/4 Cup
- Parsley – 2 Tbsp, Chopped
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add chopped almonds and breadcrumbs. Stir them for 2 to 3 minutes until they are crispy and golden. Now add ¼ salt for taste.
- You can use different types of pasta for this recipe but penne, lumachel, medium shells, or fusilli are preferred. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add pasta to it. Cook the pasta for 8 to 10 minutes until al dente. Remove and reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water and drain the pasta in a colander.
- Heat the 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Now add the artichokes and cook or stir them for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned.
- Now add spinach and cook for another 30 seconds until slightly wilted. Add the lemon zest and 1/4 tsp salt for taste.
- Add the drained pasta to the pan with the artichokes. Add lemon juice and parmesan and stir to combine the ingredients. spoon the ricotta over the pasta and mix it. If the pasta seems dry, add a little pasta cooking water and add black pepper.
- Divide the pasta into 4 bowls and use almonds and breadcrumbs for garnishing. Also, you can use parsley for garnishing.
Bresaola Artichoke with Gorgonzola
- Bresaola – 2 Slices
- Artichoke Hearts – 2, Clean
- Gorgonzola Cheese – 1 Ounce
- Mascarpone Cheese – 1 Ounce
- Truffle Butter or Truffle Oil
- Nut Kernel – 1
- Place the bresaola slices on the bottom of an earthenware tureen (about 5 inches in diameter).
- Add the cheeses mixed with truffle oil, topping it all off with a nut.
- Microwave for about 2 and a half minutes.
- Serve warm.
Artichoke Heart – Best Recipes To Try
French or globe artichoke is the most common variety in green vegetables. They are mostly grown in Spain, Italy, France, and California. Artichokes are not only famous cuisines in Europe but also in the United States. A fresh artichoke might be a little intimidating, but the thorny vegetable can be cooked in various ways.
Before you try the best recipes for cooking artichoke, keep in mind that it takes some preparation to get to the meaty part, also known as artichoke heart. A fresh artichoke choke can differ from the frozen one but using the same preparation technique, you can grill, boil, bake or steam the artichoke heart. Also, you can use artichoke hearts to make a creamy artichoke soup.