Can you eat flowers? And do they even taste good? Marc Ladiges enlightens us about beautiful and prickly plants and has a recipe that is always good when guests come and something needs to be done for the perhaps more stressed liver.
Our ancestors used to wander through the great forests and grasslands in search of something to eat. Even at that time flowers, their seeds and bulbs were of great interest as they were easy to recognize and available in almost infinite abundance. One of these flowers, with a two-year growing season, quickly became very popular: Allium. Also commonly known as "leeks" from the onion family.
Garlic (allium sativum) was only able to develop into the plant we know today after it was reproduced by humans and is the first cultivated plant. The number of edible flowers is very large, in fact much larger than we commonly think. These include daisies, roses, violets and, of course, sunflowers.
Eating flowers is now considered unnecessary given the variety of foods available to us, but they are so healthy that consuming them pays off. But there was one thistle in particular that caught my eye: the artichoke. Not only is this flower appetizing and digestive, which makes it a great appetizer, it also contains the bitter compound cynarine, which stimulates liver metabolism.
I prefer to eat the artichoke as described below. It takes a bit of preparation to prepare, but it's worth it.
Put a large shallow pot with plenty of water on to boil.
Halve a lemon. Gather string and a sharp knife.
Break off the stems of the artichokes so that the threads come out with them. Cut off the bottom half a centimeter and immediately rub with the lemon. Cut off the leaves up to the blossom (fine threads). Use a tablespoon to scrape out the blossom down to the bottom.
There must not be any flower threads left behind, as these threads, also called "hay", are not edible. Rinse the inside of the flower and sprinkle with lemon juice. Tie the flower so that half a lemon is in the flower and a lemon slice covers the bottom. The procedure prevents the artichoke from discolouring.
Salt the cooking water well and boil the flowers for 20 minutes.
For the sauce, finely dice the onion and mix with the remaining ingredients to form a vinaigrette. If you don't want to use cream, I recommend blending the sauce with a hand blender.
Remove the string from the still hot artichokes and place on plates. Pour the vinaigrette into the flower and garnish with fresh herbs.
Loosen the leaves individually from the outside in and pull them through the sauce. The pith sits at the end of the leaf. Once all the leaves have been removed, what remains is the marinated heart of the flower, which is highly valued by gourmets.
Baguette goes best with this delicate appetizer.
Good luck wishes Marc Ladiges