An artichoke is an unopened flower of a perennial herb. In the Mediterranean countries, this "vegetable" is considered a delicacy for over 2500 years! At first glance, the artichoke is a green bump, which is full of all markets and shops in spring and autumn. Although you can buy them all year round, the most delicious are autumn and spring. Cooking them is simple, but sometimes even experienced chefs experience some difficulties. Today we will tell you how to choose, cut and cook this delicacy.
Processing an artichoke requires some skill, but foodies know one thing: it's worth it. Artichokes are so diverse, they are round or long, green or purple. Now it’s very difficult for us to find fresh vegetables, and even if it works, the price of the artichoke is very biting. But if you have to visit Italy, Spain or France, be sure to try these tasty and healthy fruits.
How to choose the right artichoke
If the artichoke is plump, hard and pressed against each other, then it is fresh. If the leaves are few, and they are slightly numb, it is overripe. Young artichokes can be cooked and eat whole. Just peel the fruit, remove the nodules and coarse parts, cut off the tips of the leaves.
artichoke is a delicacy in itself. It is enough to boil or bake and serve with sauce. And also they can be stuffed, used in salads. In Mediterranean countries, it is customary to stuff artichokes with breadcrumbs, herbs, tomatoes, chili peppers and olives. No less delicious is the fried or stewed artichoke, grilled or deep-fried. Gourmet recipe - fry the artichoke on a grill, sprinkle with salt, sprinkle with lemon juice and good olive oil, add greens to taste - and enjoy.
And we will stuff and bake artichokes in the oven. Frankly, I tried it for the first time, it is very, very tasty!
What is this artichoke and what is it eaten with? Many saw this plant in photographs and on shelves in shops, but few people from the northern countries imagine what an artichoke is and how to cook it.
Big lovers of artichokes are Italians, and they love them for several reasons. First of all, gourmets praise him for his unique taste. Secondly, the product is universal in preparation and is famous for its beneficial properties. It remains to figure out how to cook artichokes at home.
Why exactly in Italy?
Italians loved the artichokes for being available for most of the year, from October to June. There are also a huge number of plant varieties that pamper us with their inflorescences only once a year. Italy is a world leader in artichoke production. The most important part of the plant is the young unopened flowers that are eaten. The older the inflorescence, the more dangerous its use in food. In stores you can find a huge number of varieties, they are round, oval, green or even purple. Officially, the world knows more than 90 varieties of artichokes. Italians know the best recipes on how to cook artichokes.
Studies have shown that eating a product has an extremely positive effect on the body and is the prevention of many diseases. Artichokes not only tone the body, but also help fight cough. The elements that are contained in the fruits cleanse the blood, dissolve kidney stones, and are also the strongest antioxidants.
What are artichokes made of?
The usefulness of the fetus lies in the fact that the product contains the elements necessary for the normal functioning of organisms. These are iron, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins, malic and citric acids. The most useful part of the artichoke is the core, and it is hidden under a layer of coarse, bitter-tasting leaves. However, all that is inside cannot be eaten, in the very center of the core is hidden a bundle of hay that is not suitable for consumption.
Young fruits can be consumed even raw, but most often they are simply boiled in water with vinegar and lemon juice. They love artichokes and losing weight, as the fruits are low-calorie and perfect for any diet. Dishes using artichokes will provide a long-lasting feeling of satiety thanks to a record amount of fiber.
How to choose artichokes?
The most useful fruits should be dense, with heavy inflorescences. Size does not affect the maturity of the artichoke, unlike color. Fruits should be even in color, without spots. When buying artichokes for a specific recipe, remember that after cleaning, the inflorescence will decrease several times, so correctly calculate the right amount. It is recommended to store the fruits in the refrigerator, after placing them in a bag that closes tightly. However, do not delay, the fresher the artichokes, the tastier they are. Raw fruits can be stored for about a week, cooked - no more than three days.
How to process and clean artichokes?
Before cleaning the fruit, you should prepare a container with cold water, in which vinegar or lemon juice should first be added so that the inflorescences do not acquire a dark shade. Gloves are also recommended as artichoke juice can stain the skin. I didn’t have any gloves, but I had to clean artichokes, then we can wash dark spots with vinegar or lemon juice. Modern housewives love to freeze the fruits, as it is very convenient. Without defrosting, they are added to dishes. If the artichokes were previously cooked, they should be frozen immediately, because they will soon begin to darken.
Fruit peeling is a real art. First you need to get rid of the hard petals, it is important not to damage the core. Then remove the solid upper part, then cut off the stem section and clean the base. If the artichoke has a hard core, it will also have to be cut, for convenience, the peeled inflorescence should be divided into several parts. Immediately after cleaning, artichokes should be sent to the water with lemon juice or vinegar. It remains to figure out how to properly prepare the artichoke.
Baked Artichokes with Carrots and Onions
The most popular and extravagant way to cook artichokes is to bake them with onions and carrots. Prepare ten medium-sized artichokes, one medium onion, two small carrots, half a lemon, salt and oil, preferably olive, to prepare. How to cook artichokes for weight loss?
- While the oven is warming up to two hundred degrees, rinse the artichokes, but do not clean them.
- Next, each inflorescence should be hit on the table so that they open a little. Just its inflorescence per stem.
- After the stem fulfills its mission, it must be cut off and put the artichokes on a baking sheet, which is pre-greased with olive oil.
- Bake the fruit for at least 45 minutes, the leaves should acquire a dark brown color, similar to burnt.
- While the artichokes are languishing in the oven, simmer the onions and carrots until soft.
- After the artichokes are cooked in the oven, you need to get rid of the upper leaves. If they cook well, then the sheets can easily detach from the core.
- Put stewed onions and carrots on a baking sheet, and on top of them are already peeled inflorescences and send them to the oven for a few more minutes.
- While the artichokes are red in the oven, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Pour the finished dish with such a peculiar sauce, and you can start the meal.
Italian culinary experts note that already prepared artichokes can not be peeled from the leaves, but served right on the table. Thus, the dish will keep warm longer. Also, artichokes can simply be boiled and eaten as an independent dish, added to salads.
You are wondering - how to cook artichokes deliciously? Make a salad! Such a simple dish tastes quite unusual and will become a real decoration of the table. For cooking, you will need eight artichokes, a lemon, a head of garlic, parsley, sesame seeds, seeds (pumpkin or sunflower), salt, oil, preferably olive. Are the ingredients ready? You can start cooking:
- Peel the leaves of the artichokes and cut each inflorescence into four parts.
- Boil the water and add the juice of half a lemon, a pinch of salt and cut artichokes into it.
- Cover the pot and cook for at least 20 minutes.
- While the artichokes are boiling, crush the garlic and salt until smooth, then finely chopped parsley or other herbs and mix thoroughly.
- Add lemon juice and five tablespoons of olive oil to garlic with parsley. Beat the future sauce, it should thicken.
- Put the boiled artichokes on a plate, sprinkle with sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds or any other seeds, and add the sauce prepared earlier on top.
This dish will appeal to lovers of delicious, and most importantly, low-calorie meal.
Fried artichokes in wine
Of course, such a method as frying cannot be called dietary, but the artichokes are very tasty. The recipe is quite simple, and there are very few ingredients. Prepare eight large artichokes in advance, a glass of dry white wine, vegetable or olive oil, salt and parsley to taste. The cooking method is as follows:
- Peel the fruits and cut each into four parts, you can also cut artichokes into slices.
- Oil a frying pan and put inflorescences on it.
- Add a glass of wine and a pinch of salt immediately.
- Simmer the artichokes over low heat until the liquid evaporates.
- After that add a drop of oil and fry the dish until the fruit is browned.
Add parsley or any other herbs if desired. So the dish will look complete.
Perfect breakfast - tortilla
Cooked artichokes, but you can’t eat? It's time to make a tortilla out of them before they go bad. To prepare the dish you will need about two hundred grams of cooked artichokes, four eggs, salt, pepper, oil (vegetable or olive). And the tortilla recipe is as follows:
- Cut the fruit into slices and fry.
- While the artichokes are red in the pan, mix the eggs with a fork until smooth, but do not beat, add a pinch of salt.
- When the fruits turn golden, pour eggs in to them.
- Cover the pan and fry for several minutes over medium heat.
- After two minutes, flip the tortilla over to the other side and wait a few more minutes
Serve the dish in hot and cold.
The secrets of choosing and reading artichokes
Artichoke inflorescences are used as food, and only unopened. They look like cones with petals - scales, depending on the variety, they can be green or purple. The upper petals of a rough texture, with unpleasant bitterness - they must be removed. But under them lie juicy thick leaves and the most valuable - fleshy receptacle. Moreover, in the center it also has an inedible part to be removed. It resembles a bunch of prickly hay. It is better to buy young fruits, heavy and dense, and store them in the refrigerator in a bag for no more than a week, otherwise the artichoke will darken.
In order for the dish to succeed, it is important to properly clean the inflorescences:
- First remove the hard top leaves.
- Cut off the top of the inflorescence.
- Trim the stem as close to the flower as possible.
- Divide the fetus in half and cut out the barbed hard part inside the receptacle. You can leave it whole, and clean it inside after cooking.
In the process of cleaning, all sections should be immediately lubricated with lemon juice - they quickly darken. The stem can also be boiled. Inside it is dense and juicy, you just need to clean the upper skin.
Do not forget that when cut, the artichoke secretes juice, which is highly corroded into the skin. In order not to paint your hands, use gloves. And if you could not avoid painting, wipe your hands with lemon juice or vinegar after the kitchen. They will help get rid of dark spots.
How to cook an artichoke - simple but tasty recipes with an exotic vegetable
Artichoke inflorescences are not only tasty, but also very useful and satisfying. Due to the high fiber content, a feeling of satiety remains for a long time after them. In addition, dishes with the addition of artichoke establish the digestive process, lower cholesterol and arouse appetite. The most delicious artichoke is baked or in salads, if cooked correctly.
Artichoke baked with vegetables
To wash, but not yet clean the heads, it is enough just to cut off the stem for now. Bake them in the oven until dark brown (approximately 45 minutes). Stew carrots with onions in a pan until they become soft. Meanwhile, peel the baked artichoke from the top leaves and cut out the hard core. Put stewed vegetables on a baking sheet, and on top - artichoke and brown in the oven (5-40 minutes). Separately make the sauce: mix olive oil with lemon juice, add a little salt. Pour them a ready artichoke with vegetables and serve.
A spicy salad will serve as an excellent side dish for mashed potatoes or an independent light meal for a snack. To do this, cut 8 fruits into 4 parts, remove the upper petals and cut the middle. Boil inflorescences in water with the addition of the juice of half a lemon (about 20 minutes).
Separately, prepare dressing: pass a head of garlic through the garlic, add chopped parsley. Pour in 5 tbsp. l olive oil and juice from the second half of a lemon. Beat well to make the sauce thick.
Put the finished artichoke in a salad bowl, sprinkle with sesame seeds, seeds (sunflower or pumpkin) and pour over the sauce.
How to use?
The most tender and valuable part of the artichoke is its core, hidden under a layer of stiffer and bitter leaves. At the same time, a bundle of hay is hidden in the very center of this core, which is also inedible. Young artichokes can even be consumed raw, but in most cases they are still boiled in water with the addition of vinegar or lemon juice (in order to avoid blackening of the leaves). Before cooking, the artichoke is cleaned of several upper layers of leaves and the inner layers are cut to the middle. It should be borne in mind that after cooking, artichokes are not stored for a long time. The water saturated with mineral salts after cooking can be stored and subsequently added to soup or broth, thereby giving them a special aroma.
Italians prepare hundreds of dishes using artichokes. They are fried, boiled and baked, added to pizza, pasta, rice, soups and salads. But perhaps one of the most famous artichoke dishes are "Artichokes in Roman" (Carciofi alla romana).
- 4 artichokes (best of the Roman variety “Mammole”)
- 1 bunch parsley
- lemon juice
- some lemon balm leaves
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons grated crackers
- 1 clove of garlic
Roman Artichoke Recipe
Peel the outer dry leaves of the artichoke, leaving only the core. Turn the cores and remove hay from them. Leave 5 cm of the stem of the artichoke and peel it and the artichoke itself of unnecessary external fibers; during this operation, try to keep the artichoke leg no shorter than 5 cm. Place the artichokes in a container filled with cold water and lemon juice so that the leaves do not turn black.
Grind together garlic, lemon balm and parsley. Mix with breadcrumbs, pepper, salt and dilute with a little olive oil.
Take the artichoke and “fluffing” the leaves with your fingers, drain all the water out of it as much as possible. Start the artichoke with a mixture of crackers with herbs. And fill not only the center cleared of hay, but also the space between the leaves. Repeat the procedure with all the artichokes.
Fill the stuffed artichokes in a deep baking sheet or pan (the height of the sides should be equal to the height of the artichokes) so that their “head” is at the bottom and the stems are at the top. Make sure that the artichokes are firm and will not fall during the cooking process. Pour artichokes with a mixture of water and olive oil (50/50). Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes and then over low heat for about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the artichokes.
Serve artichokes coated with the sauce in which they were prepared.
It is very common to serve this dish with anchovies in oil (without oil) or salt (without salt). Sliced in small pieces, anchovies are simply placed between the leaves of artichokes.
Roman artichokes are most often served hot, but are also good as a cold appetizer.