I had to salvage two artichokes we bought maybe two weeks ago. Cranky suspects they're even older.
But because they came from a farmers market, they were as fresh as could be the day we bought them, so after a languid stay in the crisper drawer, they emerged today not terribly worse for the delay.
It was so lucky not to have to throw them away. The greater porportion of the body of an artichoke is inedible, so quite a bit of their entity must be discarded in the enjoying. At least we managed to save the edible bits today.
I love artichokes. I love all the "A" vegetables: avocadoes (a fruit, I know), asparagus, arugula, armenian cucumber. But especially artichokes, which you have to know how to eat.
At a dinner party many years ago hosted by a young couple hell-bent on getting their "Sophisticate" merit badges, guests were served a single steamed artichoke with cocktails. Everybody sat on the floor around the coffee table, metrosexually plucking off the leaves of this lone offering, dipping them into some sauce, and scraping the luxuriant flesh against our teeth before dropping the spent leaves into a discard bowl.
Pretty soon, the edible leaves had been devoured, and the urbane host tried to trot the presumably exhausted globe back into the kitchen, headed for the trash bag.
"Stop!" I cried. "Do you not know the best part of the artichoke?"
He did not. (Honestly, I was not assaulting his suavité. I just didn't want that artichoke in the garbage.)
I found a fork and knife, and removed the useless, chokey leaves and stickers from the inside of the artichoke. Scraped away the fur. Chopped off the stem. Cut the glistening, emergent heart into portions... and dipped. No scraping, no throwing away. Just perfect chewing. (I shared!)
Today's salvaged artichokes were served with homemade mayonnaise. I used an exceptionally green-tasting, peppery, local olive oil, and it was just right with the 'chokes.
So glad we got to bite the leaves and cut up the hearts before these beauties wound up in the trash.