How to make the wonderful delicacy, artichoke hearts.
I’m not sure there is anything more lovely than a grilled globe artichoke heart. It has always been my ambition to grow them myself, cook them, and serve them in a rather ostentatious manner to guests. So I grew them this year on my allotment, two big strapping plants from Crowders.
The trick with harvesting an artichoke is to pick it when it is big and lovely but before purple-streaked bracts appear in the centre of the flower head. If you leave it too long, you can still use the head, but you’ll have a fiddly job in scraping out hundreds of fluffy baby seeds from the centre. I did this with one flower this year and it was a real pain.
The first thing to do is dunk the head into a pot of boiling water with some lemon slices and leave for twenty minutes. Once it comes out, slice it in half:
This is an artichoke that has been cut in half, It has all those dratted seeds in the centre because I left it too long. I’ve also cut all the spiky ends off the bracts and the top off the flower head as well as shortening the stem.
Then brush the heads liberally with olive oil (I used my chive-infused oil), and whack under the grill for as long as it takes for the choke to go soft and browned. Then once the flowerhead has cooled, you can cut out the heart. Basically the heart will be obvious as the non-chewy bit that you’d like to eat. I cut away the bits I don’t want with a knife and whack in a jar with some roasted garlic cloves until I need to eat the hearts. Which is normally pretty quickly.
For advice on how to grow globe artichokes, read the Good Growing Guide.