BEHOLD –– The prickly thistle that Zeus is rumored to have wrought from a scorned lover. The globe upon which Henry the VIII and Catherine de Medici famously gorged. The flowering vegetable that propelled Marilyn Monroe’s career to new heights. The ancient. The green. The enchanting –– THE ARTICHOKE.
Both intimidatingly tough and knee-weakeningly tender, the artichoke has a bite that leaves your mouth watering in sweetness. Shrouded in lore and bursting with heart, the artichoke is the perfect centerpiece for an “I love you, mom” celebration or a springtime garden party.
We’ve created a dramatic bouquet-to-banquet table setting that showcases the flower and the vegetable. It’s as enchanting as it is easy. So; where to start? Here:
We’re selling packs of four Heirloom Artichokes – direct descendants of a specific globe artichoke variety first brought to Castroville, California in the early 1920’s by Italian immigrant farmers. The 'chokes harvested today are grown from the same rootstock that's been passed down through generations for more than 90 years. They take longer to grow than varieties grown from seed, and that longer growing period endows them with a thicker heart and meatier petals than other varieties. You can steam, boil, bake, or grill them. Serve them with warmed Clarified Butter or another favorite dipping sauce.
The edible portion of the artichoke is the flower bud, before it blooms purple. Its stiff, fibrous, thorn-tipped leaves (bracts) are layered like petals of armor, carefully guarding the delicate heart. It has an ancient appearance that is wondrous and captivates as the focal point of this eat-it-all arrangement.
Admiring these anachronistic beauties simply makes the mouth water for their delicate and provocative flavor. Some, however, are shy to approach the artichoke; uncertain about how to cook it; concerned about the effort involved. To that, we say – phooey! The artichoke is exceptionally approachable. Especially if you approach them as we do here. Cutting them into halves is an easy way to speed up the cook time. And roasting them is not only simple to do; it renders them perfectly tender and elicits all the subtleties of their sophisticated flavor. Of course, Roasted Artichokes are deserving of a proud dipping partner like our Smoked Paprika & Garlic Aioli. And since you have such an illustrious Aioli prepared, Panko-Crusted Crab Cakelets make a commendable culinary companion. (Delicious!) Rounding out this spring symphony is our Frozen Asparagus Risotto. Enchanting.