Be Still My (Artichoke) Heart

Last summer I was soartichoke 1 busy eating bluefish and peach pie that I managed to totally miss the local artichoke crop. Which was stupid because they are truly one of my favorite flavors of the year. Nothing like the stuff in jars, which are so pickley by comparison. The ones I buy at the Greenmarket (from Maxwell’s stand at Grand Army Plaza and J&A farm over artichoke 2on West 97th Street) are small but with huge flavor. I don’t usually say mystical things like this so believe me when I tell you—they taste the way the forest smells. My mouth is watering just typing this.

Here’s my favorite way to eat em, courtesy of Jack Bishop’s Vegetables Every Day, which has been my produce bible for a decade:

Pull off the outer leaves until you get down to layers that are mostly yellow with just a touch of pale green. Chop about half an inch off the top, and halve them lengthwise. The cut edges brown a bit, so Bishop says to drop then into acidulated water, but I’ve never been one to bother with cosmetic perfection.

In a wide skillet, cook em face down in a little olive oil for about 5 mins, then add half a cup of water and keep cooking, covered, until the water is gone, you hear em sizzle, and they are tender and delicious.

Aren’t the stems amazing? That’s my favorite part. Forest, right? While you’re eating, close your eyes and commit the flavor to memory. Vow you won’t miss them next year.

Betsy Bradley

Elizabeth L. Bradley writes about New York City history and culture. She hopes to find Tiffany blue dragees in her Christmas stocking this year.

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