Artichokes are really good for you. Like, super good for you. Most people don’t actually know that because they figure since they’re so delicious and filling, they couldn’t POSSIBLY be healthy, right?
Turns out, artichokes protect your liver from damage (especially for those of us who spent the weekend wine tasting…) by enhancing detoxification reactions, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing heart disease. They’re filled with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that have some really positive effects on health.
I also learned that artichokes actually used to be medicine before they were food! They were one of the oldest medicinal plants back in 4th century B.C. when Ancient Greeks and Romans used artichokes for digestive problems. In the 16th century, artichokes were used as a treatment for liver problems and jaundice. Then finally they became widely popular as a really delicious food and a useful medicine in the 20th century.
For those of you more worried about your fat metabolism than your alcohol consumption, enhancing liver functioning also means that fat is digested more quickly and efficiently.
Artichokes are also jam packed with antioxidants. These not only boost immune system functioning and lower cholesterol, but also defend against cancer, heart disease, aging, and almost all chronic diseases.
Magic detoxer + fat burning accelerator + disease blocker + cholesterol destroyer = an artichoke. Basically they’re the unicorns of the food world.
So let’s get these babies in your belly! Artichokes are super easy to make (you can just clean one and throw it in a pot of boiling water for 40 minutes — wam bam thank you ma’am).
Or, you can be a little more fancy ‘bout it. This recipe from Nourish is so delicious and easy to make. It takes about 45 minutes and all that work is totally worth it when you taste how delish these babies are.
• 2 artichokes
• 1 lemon
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 tablespoon peppercorns
• 4 cloves crushed garlic (or a tablepoon or so of jarred minced garlic!)
• 1 tablespoons olive oil
1. Fill large, deep pot with water and bring to a boil. Slice up the lemon and squeeze all the juice into the pot, followed by the rinds. Yup, just toss ’em in there. Then add the salt, peppercorns, and garlic. Swirl it around and bask in the ridiculously, heavenly aroma you just made. (Double adverb? Totally worth it.)
2. Clean the artichokes. I like to cut the sharp tips off the leaves and cut the stem for easier eating. Once clean, slice cleanly lengthwise. B-e-a-utiful, right? Drop ’em in the pot of boiling magic-smelling water and lower to a simmer.
3. Once they’ve simmered for around 25 minutes (you should be able to pull a leaf off and taste — you want firm but not too firm, soft but not too soft, get my drift?), pull them out and place on a cutting board or platter to cool. If a leaf isn’t coming off, they’re not done. If it’s falling off, sheesh man, they’re overcooked!
4. Grab a spoon (semi-large one, preferably), and gently scoop out the ‘fuzzy’ parts. Make sure not to discard the heart, but just above the line of fuzziness. (Sorry, not quite sure about the names of parts of an artichoke…) Get that out of there so you have a clean little alcove in above the heart and about half of the purple leaves you started with.
5. Sprinkle the ‘chokes with just a tiny touch of kosher salt and brush with the olive oil.
6. Place them face down on the grill and grill for 3-5 minutes, or until grill marks show up.
Enjoy with melted butter, aioli, or plain! I made a homemade aioli last night that ended up pretty good, but I don’t really have a recipe for it yet. If you want to try it at home, I pretty much threw egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, some dijon mustard, olive oil, and salt in a bowl and whisked, then added a ton of different flavors: black truffle salt, lemon juice, fresh chopped basil, fresh grated peppercorns, and garlic.
I was really worried it would be awful with all those ingredients but it was most definitely not.
Are you an artichoke junkie, too? What’s your favorite way to serve them?
Photo credit: marylooo