History of Greek Food


” 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. 



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

lemon juice

olive oil

sea salt

ground pepper

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.

Globe Artichokes With Fresh Broad Beans on Foodista


If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

13 thoughts on “HEARTS AND BEANS

  1. admin Post author

    Ken, If you’ll add some snails to the pot, artichokes with broad beans will taste a hundred times better!

  2. Ken Albala

    OH does this look delicious! It’s exactly what in the market here in California now too. And just last night I made fava beans that look exactly like your, before cooking and after. Never thought to combine them with artichokes though. Brilliant!

  3. admin Post author

    #Magda, you will love it!

    # Giorgo, I don’t use potatoes and carrots in aginares me koukia, though I always add them to aginares a la polita “in the style of Constantinople”. And I love some singularly Cretan combinations, such as baked fish with artichokes and broad bean, artichoke and bryony stew.

  4. George (Athens)

    Mariana, we usually add carrots and some potatoes, too.
    I just cannot forget that I first tried αγγιναροκούκια accompanied with fried βακαλάο at an old μαγέρικο in Ηράκλειο Κρήτης!!! Indeed, this the perfect spring hot olive-oil salad for any fish fry.

  5. admin Post author

    Joumana, Greek ” Their heart is like an artichoke” or ‘He/she has an artichoke’s heart” are loans from French language.
    Tiny artichokes make great dishes…. they are so delicate and have such tender chokes that they are cooked whole.

  6. admin Post author

    Maria, fresh artichokes and broad beans are one of the most favorite combinations of srping vegetables. Of course you can always use the frozen varieties if you don’t have access to fresh ones.

  7. tasteofbeirut

    Wow! I had no idea that was a Greek recipe! I was on the verge of making artichokes with fava beans a few weeks ago! Love your intro Mariana! avoir un coeur d’artichaut! I did not know it was also a Greek expression!
    PS I had the best tiny artichokes in Italy! but then I haven’t been to Crete either!

  8. Maria

    Fresh artichokes do indeed require much TLC. This dish sounds simply delicious. Lovely fresh ingredients combine to make a great dish.

  9. admin Post author

    I am sure you would fall in love with them. Fresh artichokes are so elegant vegetables!

  10. admin Post author

    Δεν ξέρω αν υπάρχουν πολλά παιδιά που να τους αρέσει αυτός ο συνδυασμός…. αργότερα όμως συνήθως αλλάζουν γνώμη.

  11. Ivy

    I love artichokes but my children don’t eat them so I don’t cook them as often as I would like. I am now craving agginarkes me koukia 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *