What to do with an artichoke? After all, it is unlike any other vegetable--a small heart protected by tough, spiny leaves. As Patricia Rain explains in The Artichoke Cookbook, this vegetable is unique because it is a thistle, or more exactly, the bud of a large thistle plant. To many people, the artichoke, while it has gained enormous popularity and consumer acceptance in the past 15 years, still is something of a mystery when it comes to cooking it.
Patricia Rain's book dispels the mystery surrounding the artichoke and presents many ideas for how to cook it. The book begins with a brief introductory explanation of the artichoke--the different varieties, its anatomy, how it is grown, and why it is an expensive product. Much of this information was gathered from the artichoke growers themselves.
The majority of the book takes us on a culinary journey as we see the artichoke as appetizer, salad, soup, entree, and even dessert. The recipes are geared to the home chef and lean more toward the simple and family style than the cutting edge. The recipes put us at ease with the artichoke and provide a lot of tantalizing ideas for cooking and serving artichokes. Recipes vary in sophistication from oyster artichoke soup to artichokes vinaigrette.
This is a solid book that familiarizes the reader with this most wonderful thistle. I recommend this book to anyone who has felt the urge to cook an artichoke. Maybe you even picked one up in the vegetable aisle, but put it back again, thinking it too difficult to cook. Get this book, some artichokes, and enjoy!