Sunday, May 24, 2009
It’s been almost a month since the local farmer’s market has reopened for the season causing the produce section of grocery stores to bustle with people as the vegetables and fruits wait for their turn to shine. Artichoke was one of the vegetables that were glowing when I went to a store the other day. Despite the seemingly intimidating shape, having freshly cooked artichokes for a dinner is such a treat.
This is one of those vegetables that I wonder who on earth decided to eat at the first place. It’s spiky, tough, and super fibrous on most parts and the small yet only edible part that lies in the core of the vegetable must be cooked. It has a face of cactus but sort of reminds me of bamboo shoot because they share the category of bizarre looking vegetables and exhibit what appear to be leaves. In both vegetables, the edible part is once again well hidden in the center which requires cooking before consumption.
Commonly cooked whole artichokes are eaten with butter, mayonnaise or other creamy dips like aioli. But that seemed kind of boring. So I took the idea of stuffing the artichoke from a recipe I found and completely changed the ingredients. The great thing is that artichoke doesn’t have a strong flavor which makes it like a blank canvas. You can be creative and paint the artichoke however you want with your own taste. What I did was cooked the artichoke first to make it tender. Then I removed the inedible core, replacing it with a mixture of diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, cheese and Italian herbs and baked in the oven just until the stuffing was cooked. I didn’t mind being a vegetarian for the day.