Who ever discovered you could eat an artichoke? So well defended is the artichoke it’s baffling to imagine how we humans ever discovered they were edible. These armour-plated member of the thistle family look more suited to a medieval torture chamber than our dinner plates, yet get beyond their aggressive exterior pleasure await.
Grown in the vegetable patch and in the flower beds at The Hungry Cyclist Lodge, these spiky giants are not only delicious but make a graphic statement in any garden. Zig-zag leaves surround sculptural heads that produce electric-blue flowers if you don’t eat them first.
The young heads can be plucked of young and roasted with olive oil and a little salt. Or later on in the season, you can boil the heads whole and enjoy them the way my family do; dipping each leave into puddles of vinaigrette before devouring the heart.
Here is a recipe that employs some punchy Dijon mustard to balance the sweet aftertaste of the artichoke.
For the vinaigrette
- 1 a cup of good olive oil
- 2 tbs of white wine vinegar
- 3 pinches of salt
- 2 tsp of good honey
- 3 tbs of Dijon Mustard
- black pepper
- 1 crushed garlic clove.
- Cover your heads in a large pan of cold water and bring to the boil.
- Allow to simmer for 40 minutes and then leave to cool in the pan.
- Drain away the dark green water and put artichokes aside for serving.
- Whiz together the vinaigrette in a blender.
- To sever, give each guest a whole head. Place a large bowl in the centre of the table, pass around the vinaigrette and begin peeling and dipping.
- Make sure to feed left-over leaves into the compost and you will have artichokes forever.