We had artichokes for dinner tonight. Not marinated artichoke hearts – the real deal. At the store yesterday, there was a display of approximately 2,000 fresh artichokes. My daughter was intrigued. I remembered how exotic I felt the first time I ate an artichoke as a child and bought 4 of them, one for each family member.
My elder daughter, who was not on the artichoke shopping trip last night, declared that she did not want artichokes for dinner because she doesn’t like that type of fish. After explaining the difference between anchovies and artichokes she was open to trying them. The little one, feeling quite superior because she knew all about artichokes after seeing them in the store yesterday, was ready to try to eat this prickly veggie.
I cooked them by boiling in a pot of water for about 20 minutes. The artichokes are done when they feel tender when pierced all the way through. I made the traditional lemon butter for dipping the leaves and put it in little cups for each person. Chicken sausages and little bitty potatoes rounded out the meal.
We sat down to eat. I demonstrated how to scrape the “meat” off the ends of the leaves with my front teeth. As the Oxford Companion to Food states, a good set of front teeth and some patience are necessary when eating an artichoke. The girls quite enjoyed the process of consuming an artichoke: peel off a leaf, dip in lemon butter, scrape with teeth, put used leaf on little plate, repeat. They both declared the artichoke their new favorite vegetable. My husband was not as enamored, saying that it was too much work for too little food. It is definitely a something that is best eaten when there is plenty of time for the meal.
These delicious veggies, actually buds that are members of the thistle family, are worth a try if you have never had the experience of eating a fresh artichoke. They are full of fiber, vitamin C, folate and magnesium. Not sure how to eat one? Here’s a video to show you how!