An artichoke is a rather unique vegetable that is mostly cultivated in California.
Castroville, CA. calls itself the artichoke capital of the world, and is said to grow around 80% of the U.S. crop. Artichokes are available year round, but peak season is spring time and mid-autumn.
I was introduced to artichokes by my dad Vito, who taught me to prepare them at his restaurant 30 years ago. His advice was to purchase artichokes that felt heavy and firm, and possessed a vibrant green color with tight, compact leaves. He also told me to look for artichokes that had brownish exterior leaves.
People refer to these leaves as “frost kissed”, and the frost imparts a nutty, intense flavor.
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