Artichokes didn’t feature on the menu when I was growing up.  I’m also not overly fond of the ones you get in the deli which taste more of the vinegar they come in that anything else.  So, I had actually never eaten a fresh artichoke until last year…I‘m not sure what prompted me to buy some because let’s face it, they’re not an attractive proposition.

Water Lily Lamb Salad
Water Lily Lamb Salad

I don’t mean the way they look, that’s awesome  – the amazing colours, the gorgeous mix of purple and green and their sculptural shape…

Artichokes

They are almost like something that should be in should be in a bouquet rather than on your plate and, just to prove that point, here’s one I prepared earlier….

Artichoke-Kale-bouquet
Artichoke-Kale-bouquet

 

Gorgeous.  And functional.  If you get a little peckish…pull off a leaf and have a nibble.  Win. Win.

So, when I say they are unattractive, what I really mean is that they are hard work.

Imagine trying to explain the artichoke to someone from another planet…

“Well you’ve got to trim off the leaf tops with scissors, then brush them with lemon so they don’t go brown”

Yeah but if you didn’t cut them, you wouldn’t have to…

“Never mind about that.  Then you have to scrape out the choke…

Scrape out the what?

“The choke…it’s kind of a hairy bit at the bottom…”

It has a hairy bottom? And you EAT this?

Uh Huh.

Removing the Choke
Removing the choke

Why’s it called a choke?

Not sure but if you don’t remove it all sometimes the fuzz can get caught in your throat and apparently it can be very painful.

Oh my God.  This hairy bottom vegetable wants to kill you. You humans are bonkers.  Anyone else would run a mile from this thing…There’s no way I”m eating that.  Might come in handy as a weapon though…

Ok, so I”ll just dip these deliciious leaves in melted butter and eat them myself shall I?

What?

That’s a traditional way of eating them.  You dip them in melted butter and then you drag ’em through your teeth…

Melted butter you say? Ok, I’m in.

Artichokes with Parmesan Butter Sauce

Why aren’t more foods dipped in melted butter?   As far as I can ascertain the only things that are regularly dipped in butter are artichokes and lobsters both which are pretty good anyway. Why aren’t we doing this with some of the revolting  stuff (beetroot springs to mind) to make it taste better?  I guarantee more people would like Brussels Sprouts if they came liberally doused in melted butter.  Just saying.

Anyway I digress.  You know what is also good?  Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…but a few more of my favourite things are mayonnaise, lamb and capers.

And all of these delicious things can be found in the Nancy Spain recipe for Water Lily Lamb Salad.  And this time, I really did prepare one earlier….

 

Water Lily Lamb Salad 2
Water Lily Lamb Salad 2

Apart from the cutest name ever, the Water Lily Lamb Salads are pretty damn good and would make a great starter for a springtime lunch.  It’s such a lovely way to present the meal as well…albeit, I cooked my artichokes for the full 25 minutes as recommended by Nancy and they kind of fell apart, hence my slightly awry water lillies in the photos!  Tasted great though.   Still, I’ll cook them a lot less next time.  You could sub in chicken for the lamb as an equally deliciious variant.  Or an egg salad would be incredible…

And, if you needed any further incentive to eat artichokes, Marilyn Monroe was crowned the Artichoke Queen Of California in 1947.  And look where it got her…

No, not dead of a barbiturate overdose  at the tender age of 36…wow, you people are cynical…

Marilyn Monroe - Artichoke Queen
Marilyn Monroe – Artichoke Queen

I”m going to be spending my week hanging around greengrocers, waiting to be crowned queen of something.

Then again…why limit myself to produce when I can crown myself

qofe

It’s your week, may as well make it awesome.

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

 

2 Comments on Artichokes – Delicious Vegetable or WMD?

  1. The artichoke dialogue is wonderful — much like a discussion I had with my oldest daughter about them once, followed by having her taste an artichoke and being even less impressed.