Whenever I trim a fresh artichoke, my thoughts always drift to Pablo Neruda’s poem, "Ode to the Artichoke". And every time I cannot help but smile that such a deliciously wonderful poem was dedicated to a vegetable that looks so unwelcoming.
“Dressed as a warrior, burnished like a pomegranate, proud…” writes Neruda. Indeed, this spiky-green veggie with its formidable pointy leaves looks as intimidating as a warrior in full garb!
With a little courage, though, and a bit of skill, you can unearth its delectable treasure — “scale by scale we undress its delight and we eat the peaceful flesh of its green heart.” Thus ends the life of the artichoke, and Neruda’s poem.
I must confess that I’ve trimmed many an artichoke in my day, and the task, if not easy, has become at least comfortable. So I’ve made a video of today’s recipe showing every step of the process. And if you’ve never trimmed a fresh artichoke before I hope it will inspire you to give it a try!
Artichokes are in season twice a year: in the spring (March through May) and again in the fall. Although you can find them in grocery stores almost any time of the year, they are the freshest and therefore the most flavorful during peak season.
Since I’m such a fan of artichokes, I’ve created many recipes with them. But I especially love making artichoke risotto. The creaminess of the rice is a perfect contrast to the slightly crunchy texture of the artichoke heart. Once the risotto is done, I stir in a light lemon-herb pesto, and… it’s nothing short of a flavor bomb!
One thing’s for sure: I could eat this risotto every day until artichoke season is over… —Viviane Bauquet Farre