Artichoke info Cooking Tips
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Artichoke info and tips will help you in your cooking and food preparation.These are very useful and quite interesting information that you learn once and then apply at any time you need it.
The globe artichoke is for me the queen of vegetables. It can be eaten raw when its heart is sliced thinly into salads or cooked in casseroles or omelettes or stuffed. Artichokes also signify spring as they start to appear in the markets in March. Historically the artichoke which is a cultivated variety of the cardoon was developed in fifteenthcentury Italy and soon spread to Greece and the other countries around the Mediterranean.
Before use the inedible hairy choke lying just above the heart needs to be removed. However very young artichokes sometimes have little or no developed choke and may be cooked and eaten whole. The artichoke discolours readily so needs to be immersed in acidulated water or brushed with lemon juice after preparation. Artichokes are a good source of Vitamin A folate potassium and calcium.
For me artichokes belong to the family of vegetables classified as noble asparagus is another. They play a very important part in vegetable cookery in France Italy and Greece. Cold they marry well with olive oil and dill; hot. with a duxelles of mushrooms and hollandaise Their cooking requires some skill and dedication. The artichoke is therefore not a common ingredient in the average household The easiest way to serve them is to boil the whole artichoke and then tear off the leaves to eat the fleshy part where it clings to the heart first dipping them in hot butter and vinegar. If you only need the heart you have to learn how to clean them from raw. You need some strength a sharp heavy knife and patience. Very basically you should cut 2.5cm in off the top of the leaves break off the stem then run your knife around the heart cutting away at the leaves until you reach the heart and choke. Remove the choke with a sharp spoon. To keep artichokes from discolouring drop them into a solution of water and lemon juice until you are ready to cook them The liquid in which they are boiled is called a blanc. This is a mixture of flourwater olive oil and lemon juice. I also like to add quite a bit of dill to this.
There are a number of varieties of artichoke available each of which we use in individual recipes:
have small heads with fierce prickles and pointed buds. They are in season in December and January and are eaten when young either raw or braised whole in olive oil and water.
are the large round artichokes most commonly found in Britain. Theyre good for Carciofi alla Romana.
is another type of artichoke with a small round head usually sold by the stem with the leaves on. It is delicious raw or sliced for Carciefi Trifolati or blanched whole and used in salads.
is an artichoke grown in Sicily and southern Italy available in November and sometimes earlier. Sold on their stalks they are good for deep frying whole as in Carciofi alla Giudea.
are round artichokes the first to appear on the plant and always the biggest. They are usually peeled and the hearts sliced and stuffed or fried. In the market in Verona we watched a woman surrounded by huge boxes of these artichokes peeling them incredibly quickly with three or four deft cuts and then tossing them into a bowl of lemon juice and water to be sold ready prepared.
The same rules apply as for asparagus but use a knife to even up the hearts.
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