Here is a simple way to prepare, cook and eat a fresh artichoke bud, straight from the garden.
I just love artichokes. I feel blessed to grow my own with success now and it has been my proudest gardening moment since living in Australia. In Québec I could just buy them anytime at the supermarket. But now, I can only cook some fresh ones in season when my plants produce them in spring and that makes it even more special. It is a shame that my husband has not developed much interest in this beautiful bud like I did a while ago… But that’s ok, I’m happy just to keep them all for myself! There is no need to go all fancy with prepping (as we used to in my family, for a special dinner entrée), spring is a busy time out here. I just boil them and eat them lukewarm with a dip, as part of a quick lunch salad. As they are picked in the backyard, I let them sit in a water bowl for a little bit before cooking to let some potential little bugs come out as they can sometimes hide in between the leaves. The tender and soft texture inside of its hard armour, dipped in with dressing à la dijonnaise is just to die for. This recipe, made with Dijon mustard, olive oil, vinegar and tarragon herb (another beautiful perennial in the garden coming back each spring) is perfect with the delicate flavour of the artichoke flesh. And how to eat it? First, once cooked and ready to eat, pull off an outer petal, dip and pull through teeth to remove the soft flesh (discard the remaining petal). Do this one at a time and you’ll see that it gets fleshier as it goes. When reaching the middle part, remove the smaller middle petals and scrape out the fuzzy choke. The base is the heart and the most sublime part of the artichoke. Bon appétit!
Homegrown artichokes • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019
Fresh artichokes (1 per person), stem removed
Lemon wedges (1 per artichoke)
Dip dressing: (for about 2-3 medium artichokes)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
Pinch of tarragon (dried or fresh)
Salt and pepper
Rinse artichokes (if home grown organically, let sit in water with a drop of vinegar for 10-15 minutes and rinse well, looking in between leaves to remove any potential bug residents).
Cut the stem off at the bottom of the artichoke.
Place in a saucepan and add water, enough to cover the buds.
Squeeze some lemon juice and add a little bit of salt.
Bring to the boil and simmer 20 to 30 minutes (depending on size), until soft (pick the bottom with a fork to check if tender).
Drain water and let cool down.
Meanwhile, prepare the dip dressing by whisking the ingredients to a creamy texture.
Serve lukewarm and eat as suggested in the introduction.
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