The top vegetable of February: artichokes

Artichokes are mainly known for their purifying qualities: promote diuresis and help detoxify the body, protecting the liver.

Furthermore 100 grams of artichokes contain just over 20 calories.

Many of the qualities of this vegetable are due to one substance, the cinnarine, also responsible for the characteristic bitter taste.

The artichoke season runs from November to April; they are a rather versatile ingredient and can be prepared in many different ways and, even cooked in a simple way, it is pleasant on the palate.

However, we must learn to clean it well. Let's see how and some simple recipes with artichokes.


How to clean artichokes

To clean the artichokes it is very useful to wear a pair of gloves so as not to stain your hands. Proceed as follows:

  1. Remove all outer leaves, harder and darker; the artichoke will reduce greatly in volume.
  2. Cut off the tip.
  3. Cut the stem a couple of centimeters from the base and finish cleaning the head so as to keep only the heart; it is important to be meticulous in order not to find hard and unpleasant leaves on the plate.

The stems are also good to eat after having deprived them of the outermost layer. While cleaning the artichokes, keep a bowl with water and lemon juice to prevent them from blackening.


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Raw artichoke salad

Have you ever eaten the raw artichokes? It is a great way to fully benefit from their nutritional characteristics and their detox power. If you want to eat them raw it is even more important to carefully deprive them of all the parts that may be too hard and keep only the heart.

Ingredients for four people:
> 4 artichokes,
> 3 lemons,
> 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil,
> parsley,
> pepper and salt.

Preparation: carefully clean the artichokes following the procedure just described. Divide the artichokes into four parts, removing any internal fluff, and immerse them completely in water and lemon for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a sauce with the juice of two lemons, two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and finely chopped parsley.

Cut the artichokes into thin strips, dress them with the freshly prepared sauce and leave them to macerate for about 10 minutes at room temperature or in the refrigerator. If desired, this salad can be enriched with parmesan or parmesan flakes.



Artichokes alla Romana

Roman-style artichokes are a very simple but equally tasty dish.

Ingredients for people 4:
> 4 artichokes,
> 2 lemons,
> parsley and fresh mint (one part of mint and three parts of parsley),
> a clove of garlic,
> extra virgin olive oil,
> sale.

Preparation: put four tablespoons of oil in a small bowl and add a mixture of mint, parsley and garlic. Clean the artichokes keeping the heart whole and sprinkle with lemon juice. Slightly open the heads of the artichokes and put the sauce inside and between the various leaves. Cook upside down in a tight pan so that they are very close together and therefore do not open.

Also add the stems properly cleaned and cut into small pieces and cook in water and oil with the pot covered by a lid for about 25 minutes, over low heat. The water must cover the artichokes more than half; during cooking check from time to time that it has not been consumed. When cooked, the artichokes must be soft and there must be a liquid sauce in which to soak the bread.


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The top vegetable of February: artichokes

| By C. Shen (Flickr)


Stuffed artichokes

Stuffed artichokes are a slightly richer dish than the previous one, but still made with very simple ingredients.

Ingredients for people 4:
> 4 artichokes,
> stale bread crumbs,
> parsley,
> grated parmesan or parmesan,
> garlic, extra virgin olive oil.

Preparation: prepare the filling with stale bread crumbs, a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a chopped parsley and garlic and the cheese. Clean the artichokes keeping the whole heart and stuff the inside. Fry upside down in plenty of oil and add water, covering the artichokes for about half. Cook for about 25 minutes with the lid on, over low heat, checking every now and then that the water has not been used up.

When cooked, the artichokes must be soft with a crunchy head, while the cooking water must have been almost completely consumed, but also in this case obtaining a sauce in which to soak the bread.

The top vegetable of February: artichokes


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