A Tender Heart

Béatrice Peltre takes a moment to appreciate one of her favorite vegetables: the artichoke.

Photograph by Béatrice Peltre

There’s something intimidating about artichokes. Maybe it’s their scale-like outer leaves, or the fact that at first sight they look like something you’d find among cacti in a desert. Maybe it’s because their name features the word choke. Yet when you venture beneath the exterior, you find concealed within them a soft, buttery delight unlike any other—called, fittingly, the “heart.” Just like with most human beings, when you get to the heart of the artichoke you discover something rather different from what you’d have guessed at a glance.

Artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables, but they are something of a handful. As a kid my mom used to serve them steamed whole, alongside a mustardy vinaigrette that we would dip the leaves into and then eat, one by one. It was a slow but rewarding process, and by the time we reached the heart we could truly appreciate its flavor and texture.

If you choose not to simply steam artichokes whole like my mother did, their preparation takes patience—but the patience pays off. For my stuffed artichoke recipe, you remove the exterior leaves and cut away the hairy “choke.” You’re left with a meaty, delicate vessel, perfect to fill…

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