About Artichokes

Appears in
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine

By French Culinary Institute

Published 2021

  • About
Globe artichokes were introduced into the French culinary repertoire in the mid-sixteenth century by Catherine de Medici, the Italian-born queen who was well known for her culinary interests as well as her prodigious appetite. Catherine de Medici’s gluttony, although often debilitating for her, broadly expanded the French culinary repertoire, helping to establish its emphasis on rich sauces, exotic ingredients, and unusual preparations.

Artichokes, the sweet flesh of the dense petal-leaved flower bud of a thistle plant (Cynara scolymus, a member of the Asteraceae family) are eaten in both their raw and cooked states. The buds form on tall stalks with the primary globe developing at the top of each stalk and secondary buds appearing on the lower part. The very smallest buds that form on the lower part of the plant are most often sold as baby artichokes or processed for commercial use. The stalk may also be peeled and eaten.