” Their heart is like an artichoke” Greeks say, describing those who are in love with love and keep a leaf for everyone in sight, like an “I love you…. and you…. and you”. Here, the phrase retains the meaning of the original French expression “avoir un coeur d´artichaut”: to easily fall in love.
But they also say “Their heart is like an artichoke” referring to those who are prickly on the outside, though tender inside, like animated artichokes. It takes much patience and time to peel off their panoply of thorny leaves until you finally have their heart.
Just like human hearts, the delicate hearts of the tough purple flower buds require care.
Hence, add the juice of one lemon to a bowl of cool water. After cutting off artichokes’ stems to the bottom, remove the hard outer leaves… keep going- removing leaves until you reveal very soft, yellow ones. Cut off their tops and use a spoon to remove and discard the choke. Halve the artichokes, rub the cut surfaces with one lemon cut in half, and place them in the lemon water until you’re ready to cook. Artichokes brown very quickly and you don’t want to see your hearts changing color.
Of course, don’t throw away the stems. Peel them and cook along with the artichokes.
Of course, don’t throw away the leaves. Eat them one at at time, sprinkled with lemon juice.
There is a plethora of ways to prepare artichokes. You can cook them, fry them, bake them, roast them, grill them, stuff them, use them in pies etc. or eat them raw~ sprinkled with sea salt and lemon juice. In Crete, the egg-size baby artichokes of the early spring are served raw, sprinkled with minced spring garlic, lemon juice, virgin olive oil and chopped dill.
But. At the farmers market we still have fresh and tender broad beans. And broad beans shine in a dish of artichokes.
ARTICHOKES WITH BROAD BEANS, AGINARES ME KOUKIA
7 medium artichokes
3/4 k. broad beans
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 spring garlics, finely chopped
3 tbs dill, finely chopped
Remove the broad beans from the tough pods and with the knife string the tender pods.
In a saute pan, heat 2 tbs olive oil and saute the onions. Add the broad beans, and the artichokes (drained), followed by olive oil, fresh onions, fresh garlic, water to cover, dill. Season with salt and pepper, stir well and cook until the vegetables are fork tender. Add lemon juice and remove from the heat. Serve hot, at room temperature or cold.