'Remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke.'
Bette Davis as Margo Channing, 'All About Eve' (1950)
If I had to choose just one vegetable to eat for the rest of my life, it would undoubtedly be artichokes. I seem to wait all year for the couple of short months when artichoke risotto, Carciofi alla Giudia (Roman Jewish-style artichokes), artichokes braised with vermouth, and Carciofi alla Brace (grilled artichokes) are on high rotation. I've even been known to plan trips to Europe around artichoke season.
Baby artichokes, which are actually the little 'volunteer' flowers that shoot off to the sides of the main head, usually appear later in the season. A box of baby artichokes (40 or so) stripped of their tough outer petals will yield just a couple of precious jars to be stirred through pasta, sliced and used to top pizza, as antipasto, or eaten straight out of the jar; so it's not unusual for me to make several batches each season in a bid to eke them out as much as possible. Sold by the box, they should be relatively inexpensive, but it's worth noting that larger globe artichokes can also be prepared the same way should baby artichokes (carciofini) prove difficult to forage.Read More