Originally published in the Journal de Montréal on September 10, 2011.
The artichoke is a thistle-like plant with an edible floral bud that is picked before its flowers develop. Three parts of this bud are normally consumed: the fleshy portion of the leaves or bracts, the very delicate inner leaves and the heart, which forms the fleshy base.
A high source of fibres, inulin and several vitamins, artichoke is a strong antioxidant that could be very beneficial for health.
Originally from the Mediterranean region, this is where it is still mainly cultivated today. In Canada, there is a very small production of a cultivar that is resistant to our rigorous winters: this can be found in the public markets till mid-September.
The simplest way to eat artichoke is to steam it (after having removed some of the harder outer leaves) and serve it as it is. Detach one leaf at a time with your fingers, dip the fleshy base in vinaigrette and grip it between your teeth so that the flesh remains in your mouth while you pull the leaf away.
Try our recipe for Sautéed Artichokes