One of my favorite meals, especially here in Nice, is to get some of the incredible artichokes from the market. Here you’ll find them green or purple, small in little bunches or big and I mean really big. The little ones are good and there’s a lot you can do with them, but I like my artichokes big.
With a poulet rôti fresh off the spit at the butchers—a great dinner and pretty effortless.
One early morning, I told Frank I needed to go to the market.
“Artichokes. I woke up thinking of artichokes.”
“Really? I’ve never woken up thinking of artichokes.”
I went down to the market in the old town and came back with two massive specimens.
That night I rubbed them with lemons, stuck them in a pot with a couple garlic cloves and steamed them until they were tender. I usually do them in the microwave, wrapped in parchment paper, but as you know, the “micro” in this apartment only works in 5 second increments, which is to say it’s essentially useless.
Now, I may wake up thinking of artichokes, but the stems have always been another matter. They’re never delicious and usually barely edible, but these were big, so I peeled them and added them to the pot.
The artichokes were great! Big, really meaty with lots of flavor, we dug into them and enjoyed every bite!
The stems were another story. Tough, stringy, flavorless.
So I did what I’ve started doing with any and all cooking quandaries…posted on the NY Times Cooking community on Facebook. It’s great and within seconds I had lots of advice (most of it saying they thought stems were generally inedible) and some great tips for cooking artichokes, using wine, or broth or other good things to steam them in.
And it turns out that they’re nutritious—and even help you sleep.
The next time I wake up thinking of artichokes, I can try some of these new ideas for cooking them.
Now if we could just find the surprising health benefits of Hollandaise sauce…