This week, I’m participating in a food blogger event called Spring Fling. Each week, a seasonal fruit or vegetable is featured and several of us post recipes highlighting that food on our blogs. The food that’s on everybody’s lips this week is one of my favorite vegetables – the artichoke. I did some research and here’s what I learned about this delicate, spring treat:
Artichokes are a thistle plant (a flowering plant characterized by prickly leaves) that originated in the Mediterranean, and what we eat is actually the bud of the flower on the globe artichoke plant. The edible portions are the lower parts of the leaves and, of course, the tender heart. Although, the main producers have always been Italy, Spain and France, artichokes were brought to the United States in the 19th century by French and Spanish immigrants. Monterey County, California produces nearly all of the artichokes we eat here in the U.S.
I received my education in artichokes both from Gourmet Sleuth and from my friend, Lynn, who grew up in that area of California. Lynn takes great pride in her knowledge of artichokes and her extensive repertoire of artichoke recipes. I shared this one with her and got an enthusiastic thumbs up, so here it is: a creamy (but cream-less) Artichoke Soup.
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 yukon gold potatoes, diced
8 ounces of artichoke hears (fresh or frozen)
4 cups of chicken stock
Croutons, for garnish (optional)
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and saute garlic, vegetables and potato until tender (approximately 10 minutes). Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Allow the soup to cook slightly and then puree, using either a standard blender or an immersion blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with croutons, if desired.
Check out these other artichoke tips/recipes:
Roberto at Food2: The Art of the Artichoke
Nicole at Pinch My Salt: Artichoke Recipe Roundup
Kirsten at FN Dish: Spring Fling: Artichokes
Dana at Healthy Eats: All About Artichokes
Diane and Todd at White On Rice Couple: Grilled Artichoke Stems
Roberto at Cooking Channel: Artichoke Appetizers
Jaden at Steamy Kitchen: Baby Artichokes with Garlic and Tomatoes
The 2011 Spring Fling Schedule is as follows:
Weds April 20th: Asparagus
Wed. May 4th: Rhubarb
Wed. May 18th: Artichokes
Wed. June 1st: Strawberries
Wed. June 15th: Peas
Anybody can participate so, blog or no blog, jump in and share your favorite tips/recipes for the featured spring produce! Here's how:
Leave your tips/recipes in the comments below this post. Feel free to check out the other participants (listed above) and do the same thing. There is sure to be a great conversation going on!