The best part of the spring isn’t the unlimited sunshine or blooming flowers—it’s the start of artichoke season. Prickly, fibrous, and treasured in the Mediterranean, artichokes are chemically proven to make food taste better. (Seriously, they contain the taste-bud stimulating compound cynarin that turns average recipes into epicurean feats.) If you thought trimming, steaming, and dipping in mayo was the only way to sate your artichoke craving, think again.
Photo courtesy of norwichnuts on Flickr
Of the numerous ways to enjoy artichokes, stuffing and baking them is perhaps the most scrumptious. Filling spicy soppressata and gooey cheese between artichoke leaves transforms them into a main course–worthy dish. This recipe from Epicurious is an ideal point of inspiration to take your ’chokes to a whole new level of meaty cheesiness.
Sweet, savory, veggie- or meat-filled, pie is always a treat. AllRecipes’ artichoke tart blends parmesan, mozzarella, bread crumbs, and garlic into an aromatic and hearty delicacy. Idyllic as a starter or entrée, artichoke pie is a great choice for a vegetarian feast.
For a low-fat, speedy, and simple appetizer, there’s nothing as easy and impressive as a bowl of homemade artichoke dip. Made with canned hearts, all you need for Rosie’s Amazing Lowfat Artichoke Dip is five ingredients and a food processor. Serve it on crackers, sit back, and watch your guests swoon.
Equally enjoyable straight out of the oven or chilled, Bon Appétit’s artichoke and mushroom frittata is an ideal snack any time of day. The dish works best with carefully trimmed and halved baby artichokes to enhance the natural texture. Pair it with cappuccino for breakfast or chardonnay for dinner.
Ever notice how almost anything on top of spaghetti works wonderfully? This traditional twist on a classic from The Pioneer Woman is tangy, creamy, and totally delicious. Sauté hearty ’chokes with butter, garlic, and onions for an indulgent pasta dinner.
There’s nothing like a bowl of hot soup on a cold day—especially if it’s made with artichokes and potatoes. This clever chowder from Simply Recipes is a smooth blend of Yukon Gold potatoes, shallots, leeks, and (of course) artichokes. Pair it with a crusty loaf of sourdough for a rainy day treat.
Veggie frittatas are a common breakfast dish, but when infused with ricotta, kale, and artichokes, they’re just right any time of the day. This six-ingredient crustless pie from The Kitchn takes minimal prep and serves up maximum results. Pair it with a chilled glass of white wine for a Parisian-inspired meal.
Photo courtesy of Pat Durkin - Orange County, CA on Flickr
While steaming is the popular preparation method for artichokes, firing ’em on the grill brings out deep, smoky, and nuanced flavors. Say sayonara to corn on the cob with this recipe from Eating Well; it’s the perfect gourmet addition to your summer barbeque.
While trimming and prepping artichokes is no easy task, this recipe from Smitten Kitchen makes it so worth it. By gently braising the artichokes, their natural tangy flavor shines in a strong new way. Make the recipe your own by adding a pour of wine, Italian herbs, high-quality olives, or white beans.
If you’re a meat lover, cook your artichokes with veal cutlets for a match made in culinary heaven. Delish’s recipe gently cooks the veal in a tender broth with shallots and tarragon. For a flavorsome reminder of that summer spent in Florence, there’s no better choice.