I adore globe artichokes. When I see the first of the spring artichokes, I can’t help but feel excited. Usually I prefer a simple preparation: the classic way to deal with them is to simply boil or steam them whole until tender, with a few aromatics such as thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns in the water. Then, with a bowl of olive oil, hollandaise or melted butter to your side, pull the leaves from the artichoke, dip, and scrape off the edible flesh between your teeth, then discard the leaf. If I have more than half a dozen artichokes, then I might be inclined to prepare and steam them, then drop them immediately into a jar and douse with white wine vinegar, olive oil and aromatics to marinate for a week or so.

Artichokes contain cynarin – a chemical which makes the next thing you eat taste sweet – making them a tricky pairing, hence most treatments tend to be simple. The outer leaves are bitter and artichokes tend to taint and stain everything they touch, so I find it easiest to use gloves to peel them, then thoroughly wash the knives, spoon and boards before using again.

Many thanks to blogger and extraordinary gardener, Bri DiMattina, who kindly gave me her second flush of artichokes for shooting this feature. bri-dimattina.squarespace.com

STEP-BY-STEP PREPARATION

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