It may still be cold outside, but spring has officially arrived to New York City. Along with beautiful and colorful flower buds, and (hopefully soon) warmer weather, this season, which is my favorite season, brings other great things. A deliciously varied produce at the market is one of them.
I recently talked in detail over at my holistic health blog about what’s in season during the spring. You can read that article by clicking HERE, but today I would like to focus on just one of these seasonal ingredients: artichokes. This complex-looking vegetable is slightly bitter, and like all other bitter spring vegetables, is a great liver tonic. In other words, it helps the liver do its work more efficiently. In other words, it helps your body detoxify, which is exactly what your body needs during this time of the year.
In Peru we eat globe artichokes very often, and they are usually much bigger than the ones I find in NY. You can buy them whole, boil them, and then eat the meat from each leaf, one by one, dipped in a little vinaigrette, until you get to the best part: the artichoke’s heart. This is one of my favorite light and healthy dinners, and I’ve spent a lot of evenings in my life eating this.
The other option is to buy just the artichoke hearts, and use them for salads, or to make tasty traditional dishes, such as the very popular artichoke tart.
In Peru we don’t throw away the water where we cooked the artichokes. Instead, we drink it to enhance our liver’s health. I wouldn’t recommend you do this unless you use organic artichokes though, because you don’t want to drink a toxic pesticide soup instead.
When I want to use artichokes for a dish here in the US, it’s always much easier to use baby artichoke hearts bought in a jar. They are much easier to find than actual organic globe artichokes (or even non-organic ones). So today, I would like to share with you a vegetarian version of arroz tapado (rice terrine filled with minced beef), using baby artichoke hearts. Of course, if you find regular artichoke hearts, feel free to use those instead.
I created this recipe many months ago for Que Rica Vida, and absolutely LOVED the result. I think you will really like it too. Click HERE for the recipe.