Globe artichokes

Ok, so we are taking a bit of a risk putting globe artichokes in all boxes this week. We used to grow these in Cardiff but they are not happy in the Carmarthenshire hills and we’ve not seen them available from our supplier before. If you’ve never had them before it might be worth looking them up online but we’ve presented a couple of ways to deal with them below. Some of it comes from: https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_cook_and_eat_an_artichoke/ which has video!

Globe artichokes are basically immature thistle flowers. They are not related to Jerusalem artichokes which are closely connected to sunflowers. They are really big in Italy, which is where these come from, so there are lots of great pasta recipes out there and they go really well on pizza.

How to Cook a Globe Artichoke

Cut off the tips of the leaves. Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke. A serrated bread knife works great for this. Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem. Cut off excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke.

In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, the garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavour to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket. Place artichokes on top of the steaming basket. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 35 minutes or longer, until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off.

How to Eat a Globe Artichoke

Pull off the outer leaves, one at a time. Dip the white fleshy end in melted butter, a vinaigrette or sauce. Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal. When you get to the tender inner leaves with the purple tips, you can remove them all at once. Dip and eat just the light coloured parts of these leaves.

With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. Underneath the artichoke choke is the heart. Cut the heart into pieces and dip into melted butter, a vinaigrette, or a sauce to eat.

A couple of pasta ideas…

Cook the artichokes as above then remove the outer inedible parts and cut into quarters – or eighths if it’s large. Remove any fluffy bits of choke if there are any. Quantities below are pretty rough and per person.

Spinach and artichoke pasta

Cook a portion of pasta to be ready at the same time as the sauce or cook in advance and cool under cold running water and put to one side. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large frying pan; gently fry one clove of crushed garlic until it colours. Add a big handful of roughly chopped spinach and cook until wilted. Add 2 tbsp of cream cheese or cream plus 1 tbsp of finely grated parmesan. Add one chopped artichoke and stir. Loosen up the mixture with a splash of white wine or the artichoke steaming water or both. Simmer gently for five minutes. Add the pasta. Mix well and ensure everything is nice and hot. Squeeze some lemon juice over it if you fancy. Serve with some more parmesan grated over the top and maybe some fresh basil or thyme.

Artichoke, pea and tomato pasta

Gently fry one crushed clove of garlic in sunflower oil until it turns golden; add around 150ml of passata and bring to a simmer. Add 150g of frozen peas and gently heat until simmering. Pop in the artichokes and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and ground pepper and serve over your favourite pasta.