Friday, April 25, 2014

Whole Poached Artichokes

Low in calories, high in fiber and a rich source of Vitamins C and K and in the top ten most antioxidant-rich veggies, artichokes are the stuff of legend. Said to have been created when Zeus turned the object of his affection into a thistle after she rejected his love, women of the Renaissance were forbidden to eat artichokes because they aroused passion. That all changed when Catherine de Medici took the artichoke to France upon her marriage to the king and ate them lustily.

Cleaning artichokes is easy...start with this simple recipe and build your own repertoire of dishes with this powerfully nutritious plant!

Rich in antioxidants, pantothenic acid, and other essential nutrients, artichokes are said to be an aphrodisiac, a diuretic, and for the mere 25 calories in a whole uncooked artichoke, you get 16 essential nutrients as well as fiber.

4 globe artichokes
Extra- virgin olive oil
8 whole cloves fresh garlic, peeled, left whole
Sea salt

Trim the artichokes by removing the stem at the base so the artichokes stand upright. Peel the stem and set aside.

Using kitchen scissors, trim the tips of each leaf, removing the prickly end. When you get to the top third of the artichoke, slice it completely off with a sharp knife. Repeat with the remaining 4 artichokes.

Arrange them tightly in a pan that holds them tightly and can be covered. Add about an inch of water to the pan. Drop garlic cloves in the pan. Place artichoke stems on top of each artichoke. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cover pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for an hour.

The artichokes are done when you can easily pluck a leaf from the bottom. Lift the artichokes out of the pan and transfer to a platter. Remove garlic cloves to the platter and raise the heat to high. Reduce the liquid to a syrup. Spoon syrup over the artichokes and serve.

Cook's Tip: Some people like to scrape the purple 'choke' from the center of the artichoke before cooking as it is spiky and not tender enough to eat when cooked. I use a grapefruit spoon and only do this on the occasion that I am stuffing the artichoke. Otherwise, I remove it as I eat it.

Cook's Tip: You can add other vegetables to the poaching liquid: diced onions, cherry tomatoes, chunk cut carrots. When the veggies are tender, you can spread them on bread to enjoy with the artichokes.

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