Old Fashioned Easy Cheap Ways To Grow Mushrooms For Eating Artichokes and the Mediterranean Diet

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Artichokes and the Mediterranean Diet

Artichokes are a winter vegetable of the Mediterranean diet with a reputation for health. However, here we are more interested in their culinary virtues, with their mild-spicy flavor that makes them delicious and special.

Their physical appearance is also special, and at first, artichokes may confuse inexperienced non-white home cooks.

To tell you the truth, I remember once being disgusted by artichokes I saw in a grocery store in Ghent. They looked completely inedible to me. They were large and greenish-brown in color, the leaves were open and pitted to the touch, and hardened as if they had been sitting in the desert sun for weeks. Now you know what an artichoke is when you buy it.

You can call those Belgian artichokes flowers. Actually, flowers are what we eat. They are the edible part of the artichoke plant, or more accurately, the unopened flower heads of this mysterious herb.

Let’s make things clear. When buying artichokes, choose the ones that are packed tightly. The leaves must be kept, or they are too old and useless to make a delicious Mediterranean dish based on artichokes. A little darkening in the outer leaves is not a big deal, but just accept the little ones. Artichokes should not be too light in your hands; this is another sign that they were collected long ago.

Artichokes in the Mediterranean landscape

Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean Sea, and every spring they bloom their deep blue and purple colors in Mediterranean fields. Along with asparagus and wild mushrooms, green and purple artichokes are used in a variety of dishes that connect us to a Mediterranean cuisine that is understood as the temple in the pan, a motto of Catalan cuisine and the motto of my website, as my readers know. .

In my Mediterranean country of Catalonia, we love those three plant foods a lot, and there are many traditional dishes that use them. I don’t know about wild mushrooms, but artichokes and asparagus are considered aphrodisiacs, which makes insects even more attractive.

Now you can find certified artichokes all winter, but it is in the spring that they are at their best. In the northern part of the Mediterranean, artichokes are harvested from February to March. In the southern Mediterranean, the harvest lasts longer, starting in December or April.

Some food ideas with artichokes

Simply boiling them in water with a little salt and a little vinegar is the quickest and easiest method. In this case, do not use an aluminum or cast iron pot, as they have a dark color.

You can grill them, stir-fry them with rice or shrimp, and bake them in the oven. For those who like to eat raw vegetables, the heart leaves of some varieties of small purple artichokes can be eaten raw in a salad.

A recipe that I find particularly delicious is rice with artichokes. Their slightly bitter taste and the sweetness of the rice make a surprising contrast. An artichoke omelette is another great restaurant idea, and in some of the seafood and champagne producing areas south of Barcelona, ​​it is often accompanied by a delicious traditional salad dish called xato.

Artichokes are exceptional with chicken or rabbit. If you want to blacken your paella rice, add some artichokes and beans. But grilling artichokes outdoors is unique in its simplicity. It’s an open-air celebration, another excuse to “go chill” with friends, as they say in the Catalan region around the Ebro River, about 125 miles (200 km) south of Barcelona.

Toss the whole artichokes generously with extra virgin olive oil and some salt and place them on the grill. Traditionally, artichokes are roasted when you’re busy eating barbecued meat. Once they are done, remove the burnt outer leaves, eat the tender ones and the sweet heart, where the olive oil has accumulated.

There is another simple dish with artichokes that is suitable for outdoor preparation: To get the small purple heirloom pods, remove some of the outer leaves, cut the artichokes in half lengthwise, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and cook them. Toast two slices of bread country-style, and add the boiled artichokes. You won’t believe how good it is until you try it.

Lack of artichokes

Sommeliers find artichokes very sad. The artichoke flavor is so persistent, lingering so long in the mouth, that they cannot find a wine that suits them.

I admit that I commit a sin when I eat roasted artichokes. I pair them with a strong red wine like Priorat or an unadulterated house red, even though I know that breaks the rules of wine connoisseurs. But this is what people did before the sommeliers had their say, so … there are no shortages of artichokes in the past.

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