QUESTION: Can artichokes be eaten raw? What are some good ways to prepare fresh artichokes? -Ken R.
ANSWER: Although the most common preparations for artichokes involve cooking the vegetable (like steaming, boiling, braising, roasting, or frying), they’re delicious served raw as well. The most important factor in raw artichokes tasting just as delicious as their cooked counterparts is the freshness of the artichoke, and you can’t get any fresher than homegrown produce. That means if you’re a gardener who grows artichokes, it would be a shame not to enjoy at least a few of your harvest eaten raw. And as some of the nutrients in artichokes are sensitive to heat, such as vitamin C, when you eat them raw, you’ll be getting the maximum nutrition possible from your homegrown delicacies. Choose young artichokes that feel heavy for their size when you plan to enjoy them raw, as the leaves of these artichokes will be the most tender, making them both easier to prepare and easier to enjoy.
You can use raw artichoke hearts in all sorts of ways and enjoy the outer leaves raw by removing and eating one leaf at a time, exactly as you would approach eating a steamed or boiled whole artichoke. (That is, detach each leaf one after another, and use your teeth to scrape the tender flesh off the tougher outside part of the leaf.) Wash, trim, and prepare the artichoke as you would to cook it if you’d like to eat the leaves and heart all at once.
If you don’t want to eat the leaves or if you want to eat the leaves and heart separately, you can chop the artichoke to make it simpler to access the heart. First slice the artichoke in half lengthwise, then crosswise above the choke. At the center of the artichoke—on top of the heart—you’ll find the part called the choke, a fuzzy-looking threadlike substance that you’ll need to remove. Those prickly tendrils are what would eventually become the petals of the artichoke flower, if the artichokes were not harvested before the flower could emerge.
With your artichoke trimmed, peeled, and deconstructed, you’re ready to enjoy the leaves and hearts raw. Artichokes are most commonly enjoyed in their raw form as part of a salad when they aren’t simply consumed alone. Raw artichoke hearts are often sliced thinly and dressed with lemon juice to include in salads. You can also cut the hearts and stem into thin slices and dress them with the classic combination olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The outer leaves can be dipped into lemon juice, melted butter, flavored olive oil, high quality vinegar, hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise, or aioli. We’ve listed some recipes below to get your creative culinary juices flowing.
- Artichoke and Bottarga Salad from Sensibus (Bottarga is salted, cured fish roe.)
- Eggs in Purgatory and Raw Artichoke Salad from David Rocco
- Marinated Raw Artichoke Hearts from Foodadit
- Raw Artichoke and Broad Bean Crostini from Michael Diacono
- Raw Artichoke and Mushroom Salad from The Globe and Mail
- Raw Artichoke and White Asparagus Farro Salad from Martha Stewart
- Raw Artichoke, Arugula, and Shaved Parmesan Cheese Salad from Italian Food Forever
- Raw Artichoke, Celery, and Broccoli Salad from BBC Food
- Raw Artichoke, Celery, and Parmesan Salad from Bon Appetit
- Raw Artichoke, Portobello, and Fennel Salad from Fine Cooking
- Raw Artichoke Salad (with Fennel and Mushrooms) from Taste
- Raw Artichoke Salad with Grana Pandano from Olives and Lucinda
- Raw Artichoke Salad (with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar) from Cookstr
- Raw Artichoke Salad with Olive Oil Cured Olives and Sun Dried Tomatoes from May I Have That Recipe
- Raw Artichoke Salad with Mint and Pecorino from Food and Wine
- Raw Artichoke Salad (with Pecorino or Parmesan) from Elizabeth Minchilli
- Refreshing Raw Artichoke Salad (with Lemon Juice and Red Wine Vinegar) from Farm Fresh to You
- Shaved Baby Artichokes with Lemon, Arugula, and Parmigiano from Fine Cooking
- Shaved Raw Artichoke Salad (with Cremini Mushrooms, Celery, and Arugula) from Today