This article is brought to you by our friends at Electrolux as part of an ongoing series focusing on seasonal ingredients. Today artichokes take center stage.
The season is leaning toward spring when artichokes show up at the market, big and bulbous, taunting you to pick them up and ring them like bells. And after you're done satisfying your childlike wonder by waving them around like the little, nubby scepters they are, it's time to take them home and experiment.
Fresh artichokes—not their stripped down and squishy jarred counterparts—are a sight to behold. They're one of the most elegant vegetables out there, hard green and purple leaves unfurling to reveal a pliable, flavorful center. They take to many forms of cooking, but one of their sweetest spots is achieved through braising.
In Food52 columnist Emiko Davies' new cookbook Florentine: The True Cuisine of Florence, the chapters are each dedicated to the places you might visit to prepare for a meal, or eat one, in the great Italian city, like La Pasticceria (The Pastry Shop) and Il Forno (The Bakery). In the chapter Il Mercato (The Market), carciofi ritti, or whole braised artichokes, is one of the first recipes you encounter. It's not a new recipe by any means: You'll find it in many a Florentine trattoria at the height of spring.
Whole artichokes' tough outer leaves are removed and their tops chopped off so that they can be stuffed with a sautéed mixture of their stems, salt, pepper, and olive oil, and then be braised in white wine. Emiko injects some modernity into her stuffing by adding pancetta, garlic, and celery leaves.
But this is just one style Italians (and others) do artichokes. While they're in season, buy up as many as you can at the market and then make them every which way. Fry them, eat them raw, grill 'em up—as long as the hefty, pesky leaves go by the wayside. (You don't want to get caught trying to chew those.) Here are six ways to make artichokes, no matter what kind of meal you're in the mood for:
Let your love for artichokes show in the comments below!
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