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Old 04-14-2005, 10:34 AM
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So, what does an artichoke taste like?

I've never tried them before.. As far as I can tell, they're kinda starchy? Taste like turnips? I've heard they male wines taste sweeter, and they've been compared to brocolli...

So, what do artichokes taste like?
Old 04-14-2005, 11:08 AM
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They taste like artichokes, silly!

Honestly, they don't taste like anything else I can describe, and it probably depends entirely on how they are prepared. Most artichokes I have had have a bit of a tangy taste to them, which is delicious in butter or sour cream (and yes, I have had fresh ones, not just pickled). Beware of the thistle part, gets in your throat and is pure hell, if no one warns you about not eating it.
Old 04-14-2005, 11:22 AM
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Two kinds of artichokes, not all that closely related to each other (no more than they both are to, say, a dandelion or chrysanthemum):

Globe artichokes: the very impressive, large globular buds of a very sturdy thistle; you eat the overlapping scales by scraping them with your teeth, the 'heart' is the base of the flowering structure inside and is sort of creamy/waxy in texture. Can't say too much about these, as I've not eaten them much; the bud scales taste sort of like asparagus. Sort of. Perhaps I'll try some of these sometime soon, but they are so damned expensive.

Jerusalem artichokes: the tuberous roots of a close relative of the sunflower; they look a bit like potatoes, but instead of starch, they contain something called inulin (not insulin), which I think is more like a sugar. They have quite a strong nutty, earthy taste. If you like parsnips, you'll probably like Jerusalem artichokes - in fact one of my favourite ways to serve them is to finely slice potatoes, artichokes and parsnips, layer them in a dish, splash on a bit of milk and bake the whole thing until tender.
They should be peeled immediately before cooking, as they will discolour rapidly.
The etymology of the Jerusalem in the name is much disputed; some say it derives from Girasolle ('sun follower'), others say it is a corruption of Terneuzen (a town in the Netherlands where they were first introduced to Europe, or something). The smart people ignore all that and just eat them anyway.
They can be roasted like potatoes, but getting them so that they are not either burnt to little chunks of sooty caramel, irretrievably glued to the pan or still a bit crunchy is an art all in itself.
Old 04-14-2005, 12:00 PM
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Globe artichokes are my addiction. I can sometimes get them three for a dollar at Jerry's. The flavor meat on each leaf is kind of like a cross between potato and a mild asparagus with lots of other subtle flavors as well. It is generally a subtle savory flavor that avoids much of the bitterness of other vegetables. The base is more so; my daugterte willl eat the heart and stem like an ice cream cone.
Old 04-14-2005, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Mangetout
Jerusalem artichokes
I know this vegetable delicacy by the Dutch name of "aardpeer" or "topinamboer". The Latin name of the race my BF grows in his garden is Helianthus Tuberosus.
I always thought they tasted like artichokes.

When first preparing or eating an artichoke, let somebody show tell you the finer points. I often prepare artichokes. I cook them in a pan before I go to work, then wrap the in towels and put it in bed all day. By dinnertime, the artichoke is tender and perfectly lukewarm. Make a vinaigrette and dip the leaves in one by one.
Eating an artichoke takes a long time, and requires eating deftly with your fingers. Some people love it, some hate it.

The little canned artichokes can be eaten whole and they taste bland.
Old 04-14-2005, 12:19 PM
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My mother makes a dish with chicken and coconut milk which is then placed in hollowed out artichokes and steamed. Good grief, that stuff is good.

So good that I think I may need to go grocery shopping and buy her all the ingredients as a subtle hint.
Old 04-14-2005, 02:08 PM
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Y'all are making me want to buy some of those humongous California globe 'chokes when I go out shopping at lunch today. Mr. brown likes them, but doesn't like the fuss of picking them apart leaf by leaf to eat them, so I usually get them all. One of the big ones is a meal in itself and I like one for my lunch here at work.

The taste is kind of nutty, kind of green and vegetable-y, but you have to try one to really understand. One thing about artichokes: there's a chemical in them that makes things taste sweet. Therefore, after you eat one, milk will taste sweet, bread will taste sweet, etc. I like this sensation, but some folks hate it.
Old 04-14-2005, 02:22 PM
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Well, I'm asian, so nobody I know knows how to do artichokes.. I'm in London now, though. Any easy recipes for canned ones? Or maybe someone knows where to get fresh artichokes here? They sound... interesting..
Old 04-14-2005, 02:29 PM
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If you are a newbie to artichokes, try tossing a few of the marinated baby ones into a salad.

I also enjoy the regular canned artichoke hearts - not marinated, but canned in water - sauteed with other goodies and tossed with pasta.
Old 04-14-2005, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Tabby_Cat
Well, I'm asian, so nobody I know knows how to do artichokes.. I'm in London now, though. Any easy recipes for canned ones? Or maybe someone knows where to get fresh artichokes here? They sound... interesting..
I think the only time I've had non-fresh artichokes is when they're pickled and used in salads. Not as good as fresh ones.

Of course, once you start eating fresh artichokes you'll find yourself in endless debates about how to eat them. Dip the leaves (and heart) in butter? Season the butter, or no? Mayonaise? A mixture of mayonaise and butter? Vinegrette? Sour cream? Au gratin? As dip?

I can't think of artichokes without thinking of The Little Rascals. Stymie sees some at the greengrocer's. 'They may choke Artie, but they won't choke Stymie!' he says.

Of course not. Then they'd be called stymiechokes!
Old 04-14-2005, 08:43 PM
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Just for a closer apprach to completeness, I'll mention that there's another (not very common) root vegetable called Chinese Artichoke - the botanical name is Stachys Affinis - the roots look like big fat maggots (yummy) - featured on this web page.
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