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Fort on Artichoke
Let’s be clear about which artichoke we’re talking. Not the one that looks like a knobbly potato, in fact, the Jerusalem artichoke is not related to the green or green/grey globe artichoke at all, (Jerusalem is a corruption of girasole – sunflower, their flowers are very similar). Proper artichokes are edible thistles, and there are two tribes of them: spiny, spiky ones with purple tips favoured by Italians, and green ones with rounded, fleshier leaves, favoured by the French. The Italians lead the world in artichoke and the range of artichoke recipes, frequently using artichokes young enough to eat whole.
They also produce an absolutely disgusting digestivo, Cynar, made with artichokes. As artichokes have one of the highest levels of antioxidants in plants, perhaps it has the same beneficial effects on your body as a re-boot does on a car engine. They also do mysterious things to your taste receptors, making it virtually impossible to find an artichoke/wine match. You might like to try beer with a suitable level of bitterness, such as an IPA or Worthington White Shield.
Article written by Matthew Fort
What it Goes With
Carrying a bitter flavour and tending to influence the other flavours on a plate, artichokes need to be dealt with carefully. On the continent, the artichoke is often used more effectively; in some areas of France they often roast the whole vegetable and serve with crusty bread, while in Italy it is common to find artichoke encrusted in cheese or on a pizza.
Artichoke barigoule - a stew-type dish usually containing whole artichoke hearts - is a popular dish on the continent. Luke Holder combines artichoke barigoule with truffle and polenta to create a sumptuous vegetarian main. Robert Thompson also uses the vegetable with truffle for his roast partridge recipe.
Meat components are often used with artichokes – particularly lamb. Phil Carnegie features the vegetable along with lamb, chickpeas, tomato and goat’s cheese. This Luke Holder recipe also features the combination, pairing with a cheeky slice of cheese on toast.