Perhaps this is because most of the world's artichokes are grown abroad (Italy, Spain, and France), or, if grown in the United States, they are decidedly not local to Wisconsin (nearly 100% of all U.S. artichokes are grown in California, ~80% in Monterey County). So, they haven't made it into our CSA box or any other venue that would encourage me to try them.
image from www.sardegna.com
But then, our good friend Kroy (also known as Mike in Daegu), came to visit, and was curious to try this beautiful, but mysterious vegetable (or is it a fruit?)
We'd both heard that artichokes were really difficult to prep, but that they were so delicious that they were worth the effort.
But let me tell you, based on our experience at least: so not worth it.
Anyone care to disagree with me?
We tried to follow some basic directions we found online, in conjunction with Mark Bittman's advice in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, but ended up confused anyway. Even with all this education, we can't cook an artichoke! So, we ended up just trimming the leaves, removing them from the heart, and then steaming both the leaves and the heart (quartered) until the rest of our food was ready (about 20-30 minutes, I think).
Justin whipped up a roasted garlic, Vegannaise, Sriracha sauce that was really delicious, for dipping purposes.
But even with the delicious sauce, the leaves and hearts--though substantially softened by the long steam bath--still offered only a fairly mild, slightly bitter flavor that definitely wasn't the glory we were expecting.
Did we do something wrong?
Any artichoke lovers out there who want to defend the honorable fruit, and make the "they are too worth it!" argument? I'd love to hear it...