The globe artichoke, what a curious vegetable. So spiny and prickly on the outside, but when cooked, so soft and buttery inside. Keep your eyes peeled for fields full of these massive plants this month. If you’re not sure what to look for, think of a giant thistle. It is no surprise that they resemble this bristly flora, as they are both part of the same group of plants with prickly stems and leaves, members of the Asteraceae family. Also part of the same family, but actually not a type of artichoke, is the Jerusalem Artichoke. Although the name would imply otherwise, this root vegetable forms part of a plant that more closely resembles a sunflower than an artichoke. The reference to Jerusalem is also a bit of a mystery, but a theory is that it is a corruption of the Italian word for sunflower: girasole.
This year we published the AgroKatina report about the local fruit & vegetable supply chain, and the pocket guide highlighting when local fruits & veggies are in season. Find out more on www.foemalta.org/agrokatina, where you can also order a free copy of the pocket guide.
Stuffed artichokes are a classic Maltese recipe. They are usually stuffed with a variety of Maltese food staples: breadcrumbs, parsley, olives, capers, garlic and olive oil. Anchovies or tuna are also often added into the mix, but for a vegetarian variant we suggest adding some sundried tomatoes, which provide a kick of sour and salty flavor.
Ingredients & method:
- 4 large artichokes
- 4 slices Maltese bread, crumbled
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 8 sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 4 tbsp olives, chopped
- 2 tbsp capers, chopped
- A handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt & pepper
- Olive oil
1. Chop the olives, capers, parsley and sundried tomatoes and toss them together with the bread crumbs, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Prepare the artichokes by trimming the stem and removing the outer leaves at the base of the artichoke. Then trip the top off the artichoke and cut off the prickly points of the leaves.
3. Pry the artichoke leaves open and stuff between the leaves with the mixture.
4. Place the artichokes upright all together in a large pot of water, on a simmering fire. Cover and steam for about 45 minutes, until you can easily pull out a leaf of the artichoke.
This activity has been funded with support from the EU and co-financed by the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs, and Civil Liberties. This project reflects the views only of the author, and funders cannot be held responsible for the content or any use which may be made of the information contained therein.